California Public Employment Numbers

This post may well be a bit on the dry side, but I decided to work on it after reading that California has in excess of 2 million public employees. This gave me cause to wonder at the background for this large number.

A few notes before I dig in. Employment data is from 2007 and is largely taken from the US Census estimates of that year (the latest year for which full estimates are available). Other data is also from 2007, unless otherwise noted (links for these sources is provided with the corresponding data). Due to the nature of things, all the numbers may not come from the same point in the year; however, if you  keep in mind that estimates are just that, I believe the overall conclusions are supported from the available data.

In 2007, California had the following:

Breaking it down, we have a non-military labor force which is just a hair more than 50% of of the total population. In addition, we have roughly 1.8 million full-time-equivalent positions which are filled at the state and local levels in government positions.

Comparing those two numbers, we determine that 10% of all the employees in the state work for some government entity at the state or local level. This does not take into account part-time employment or federal employment (which would drive the number even higher).

Given all this, is it any wonder that it is a big deal in California when the state declares that it will go bankrupt unless something is done to stop the madness?

Unemployment in California was at about 11% as of April 2009. My understanding, however, is that most of this is in the private sector with very few state/local employees out of work. Receiving IOUs instead of paychecks? Perhaps. Out of work? Not yet.

As more than one person has mentioned, Californians seem to like their government services, but do not so much enjoy paying for them. Based on the recent referendum on financial measures, it would seem as though a number of public employees may be joining their private sector compatriots in the unemployment lines.