According to a new study from Gallup, the number of government workers declined from 17.2 percent in 2010 to 16.3 percent in 2011. Jobs were lost on the local, state and federal level.
More interesting is where the jobs are. Nearly three in ten workers hold government jobs in Hawaii (29.7 percent), Alaska (29.6 percent) and Washington, D.C. (29 percent).
Maryland and Virginia also boast a high percentage of workers holding government jobs, likely due to their proximity to the Washington region. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Vermont, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Ohio have the lowest share of workers in government jobs - less than half that of the leading five states.
My colleague Charlotta Mellander conducted a quick analysis of how the share of government jobs correlates to some key economic and demographic characteristics. Of course, correlation does not equal causation and other factors likely bear on these relationships. But what she found is interesting.
Initially, she found a high concentration of government jobs to be positively associated with average income and knowledge work. That's the opposite of what I would have expected; I would have thought government jobs would be more associated with lower incomes or poverty levels (they are not).
One would think given their "starve-the-beast," government slashing rhetoric, Republican states would have fewer government jobs, but that is not what we found. There was no statistical association between government workers and political party or ideological leaning.
When Mellander removed the states which were statistical outliers - Hawaii, Alaska and D.C. - some of the initial correlations disappeared. Religion was one: the share of government workers was positively associated with the percent of people who say religion plays an important role in their daily life (.36). Government spending was negatively associated with the with the share of the workforce in artistic and cultural creative (-.29). So much for government supporting the arts.
Read more from the Gallup poll here.