The Protected Class (Part 1)

Some of my recent work for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has been in regards to government employee compensation here in Michigan.  As I delved into the topic, I’ve found that Wendell Cox’s assessment is correct; government employees truly are a protected class.  Over the next few days I’ll be presenting my own case on this point, looking at both Michigan and National statistics. Some language will be pulled from a MCPP essay I helped write.

Today’s topic: Employment.

According to the BLS, Michigan’s private sector has shed 12.1 percent of its jobs since 2000. The number of jobs lost — 484,200 — is about the size of the total employment in Rhode Island. In fact there are nine states with whole private-sectors smaller than Michigan’s private-sector loss since the start of the decade.

Local government in Michigan on the other hand  only shed 6.1 percent of its workforce, while the state government and state enterprises like universities actually expanded their payrolls.

Nationally, similar trends have come to the surface.  The nation has grown its private ranks by 3.2 percent since 2000.  Not to be outdone, the government expanded by 8.2 percent over the same period.  This means that nationally, we have grown government employment over 2.5 times faster than the rest of the country’s workforce.

And these figures are just up to 2008.  What will 2009 tell with the increases to AmeriCorps and Obama’s mission to add oversight and regulation left and right?

We cannot continue to add to government ranks that do little to produce wealth, and do much to move around and waste it.  But not only are government employees wasting taxpayer money through bureaucracy, they are consuming more than their fair share of it in compensation. Stay tuned…

Part 2 ->

Adam Rule – MCPP Intern


5 thoughts on “The Protected Class (Part 1)

  1. David Littmann will look at the economy and separate it into the productive forces–mostly in the private sector–and the redistributive ones. The first can only support so much of the latter.

  2. Great piece, Adam.

    Completely frustrating.

    Hey, in that next installment, can you give us the raw numbers on the total jobs added by the state since 2000?

    I know the state budget has gone up about $6 billion since January 2003 alone but it’d be nice to have employment numbers to go with that.



    • Thanks Nick,

      Using the included link to the BLS and the databases found therein, you can find the numbers if you have specifics you want to explore further.

      As I stated, local government shrunk, the actual numbers being 451,100 in 2000 and 423,400 in 2008.

      As for state government, the numbers are 169,900 in 2000, 169,800 in 2003, and 171,100 in 2008. So accordingly, 1,200 were added between 2000 and 2008.

      Using state civil service compensation figures, this added workforce can be estimated to cost around $101 million a year.

  3. Adam

    I like your way of thinking.

    I was just thinking myself over the past few days, that we need a Soilent Green style movie, showing a 21st century where the social welfare system has grown so far out of control that anyone who has the ability to work is forced to do so in order to support the “protected and Victim” classes.

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