The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 15, 2012
Survey: Nearly 6 percent of California workers employed by state

map.jpgAbout six in 100 workers in California are employed by the state, according to a new Gallup Daily Tracking survey. The ratio more than doubles when federal and local government workers are included.

Some 5.6 percent of Golden State workers surveyed said they work for state government, the same percentage as Colorado. Thirty-six states had a higher percentage of workers who said they receive a state paycheck, led by Hawaii (12.6 percent), Alaska (11.5 percent) and West Virginia (11.2 percent).

On the other end of the spectrum, 4.8 percent of workers in Ohio and Maryland said they were state employees, followed by 4.4 percent in Pennsylvania and 4.3 percent in New Hampshire.

Nationally, 6.5 percent of the more than 129,000 American workers Gallup surveyed (including those in the District of Columbia) work for state government.

The statistic is somewhat misleading, however, because states distribute programs differently between federal, state and local governments.

By the larger measure, California ranked 33rd among the states with 15.3 percent of surveyed respondents saying they were government employees.

Nearly a third of workers in Hawaii, Alaska and the Maryland are in employed by government, the highest percentages in the nation.The lowest: Vermont, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which all hovered around 12 percent.

Nationally, 16.3 percent of American workers drew a government paycheck in 2011, a 1 percent decline from 2009. The job losses in the 50 states and the District of Columbia were spread equally over federal, state, and local governments and are consistent with Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Gallup said. Still, government employs at least 1 in 10 workers in every state.

Click here to see the government employment percentages for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This link opens Gallup's take on the numbers.

MAP: Courtesy Gallup

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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