Last year's effort to scale down the growth rate of Utah's state and local governments was moderately successful, the Utah Foundation reported Monday.
The number of state jobs was reduced by about 600 while the number of non-school local government positions fell by about 300. That contrasted to the 1976-1986 period, when non-school positions grew by 31 percent at the state and local level, the foundation reported.Full-time state and local employment in Utah climbed from 62,916 in 1976 to 80,007 in 1986, an increase of 17,091 over the decade. On the national level, state and local employment rose by 16.1 percent.
Foundation analysts attribute Utah's faster rate of growth to the fact that Utah's population has been growing more rapidly than other states. Between 1976 and 1986, Utah's population increased by 30.5 percent, compared to a 10.8 percent increase on the national level.
Public school enrollment in Utah also climbed 32.3 percent in 1976, compared to a decline of 10.4 percent on the national level.
However, analysts say that when related to population changes, state and local employment growth actually declined in Utah and rose on a national level. Utah is ranked 34th among the 50 states in the number of state and local employees per 10,000 population in 1986.
The number of full-time state and local employees per 10,000 population in Utah fell from 512 in 1976 to 481 in 1986. On the national level, state and local employment increased from 475 per 10,000 population in 1976 to 492 in 1986, the report said.
The report also said a substantial part of Utah's state employment load is the result of the large demand for public education. If non-education employees are considered, Utah ranks last among the 50 states in the number of state and local employees per 10,000.
An early retirement program last year was designed to reduce the state work force in Utah without laying off any state employees. A total of 2,511 employees took advantage of this option last year, including 1,799 public school employees, 638 state employees and 74 higher education employees, an audit by the Legislative Auditor General reported.
The early retirement program will save $8.2 million in 1987-88 and $13.7 million in 1988-89. But the savings will decline each year as replacement salaries and related benefit costs continue to rise, the report said.
At some point, the report said, the retirement costs of the early retirees could exceed the payroll savings.