One of every five workers in Utah is employed by a government agency, while governmental employment in the rest of the nation accounts for only about one out of every six non-agricultural jobs, according to latest report from the Utah Foundation.
The report attributes Utah's high governmental employment to the high number of federal workers stationed in the state. There are currently about 38,000 Utahns employed by the federal government, or 5.1 percent of all non-agricultural employment in the state. Nationally, only 2.6 percent of all workers are employed by the federal government.Utah ranks 38th among the 50 states in the number of state and local employees per 10,000 population, but a substantial portion of this is a result of the state's exceptionally large educational load. Nearly three of every five state and local employees work for an educational agency or institution.
If only non-educational employees are considered, Utah ranks 48th in the number of state and local employees per 10,000 population. During October 1989, there were 200.6 state and local non-educational employees per 10,000 population in Utah. This is 22 percent below the national average. The only states ranking below Utah were Pennsylvania (198.3) and Michigan (197.1)
Foundation analysts say the study reveals that Utah maintains a relatively efficient state and local operation in comparison to other states. One reason for Utah's better performance may be that financial pressures may have forced the state to become more efficient. Utah has the highest dependency ratio of persons in the non-tax producing age bracket as compared to the tax-producing age bracket in the nation.
Another contributing factor is believed to be Utah's income levels, which are well below the U.S. average.
The report also noted that differences in population densities, historical and political differences, as well as differences in demographic, economic or social structure may also combine to account for Utah's unusual government staffing patterns.
State and local government employment for Utah
State Number Employed Percent Change
1979 1989 1979 1989
Educational 12,821 18,283 42.6% 30.0%
Non-education 12,328 16,666 35.2% 15.9%
TOTAL STATE 25,149 34,949 39.0% 20.7%
County 6,705 6,881 2.6% 17.0%
Municipality 7,080 8,528 20.5% 3.6%
Township NA NA NA NA
School District 25,474 31,297 22.9% 19.0%
Special District 1,411 2,175 54.1% 32.9%
TOTAL DISTRICT 40,670 48,881 20.2% 14.5%
TOTAL 68,819 83,830 27.4% 16.3%
NA: Not applicable as there are no townships in Utah
SOURCE: UTAH FOUNDATION from reports published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census publication, "Public Employment."