State of the Unions: Nevada, New Jersey at Opposite Ends of Public-Sector Growth

Published July 1, 2007

The average state employs 530 government workers per 10,000 residents, according to a study by the Manhattan Institute reported in the spring issue of City Journal.

New York has 616 state government employees per 10,000 residents and New Jersey employs 587, the study notes.

In addition, the New Jersey government payroll is rapidly expanding. Since 2000, when there were 530 state government employees per 10,000 residents, New Jersey agencies have hired 63,000 new full-time workers and “full-time equivalents.”

Only three states hired more public-sector employees during the same period: California, Florida, and Texas, but their growth stayed even with population growth, according to the study. New Jersey’s 14 percent growth greatly outpaced the 4 percent growth of its population and increased government payrolls by 38 percent.

Meanwhile, the Rio Grande Foundation reports, “Nevada governments have the smallest workforce in the nation at 4.2 percent of the state’s population,” citing U.S. Census data. Nearby New Mexico, at more than 6.6 percent, is among the states with the largest government workforce, behind only Alaska and Wyoming.

Unions Thwart School Reform

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige meant what he said in early 2004 when he described the National Education Association as a “terrorist organization.” When he apologized, he apologized only for the words he used.

Paige’s new book, How Teachers’ Unions Hurt Children, Hinder Teachers, and Endanger Public Education, backs up his statement with proof that the nation’s teacher unions are doing all they can to sabotage promising education reforms.

In an April 18 interview with the New York Sun, Paige revealed the key to union success in thwarting reform.

“The union is sitting on both sides of the negotiating table,” Paige said, referring to the ability of unions to get politicians elected who then return the favors through legislation and collective bargaining. The result, he said, is “systems whose main purpose is the employment well-being of the adults in the system.”

Ryan Bedford ([email protected]) is a labor analyst with the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington.

For more information …

“The Most Reckless State,” by Steven Malanga, City Journal, Spring 2007,

“New Mexico has surplus of government employees,” Rio Grande Foundation,

“Rod Paige Warns of a ‘Death Grip’ by Unions,” New York Sun,

“Education Gadfly Review,” Chartwell Education Group,–dr.-rod-paige/education-gadfly-review.php