The Institute of Social & Economic Research

The Alaska Citizen's Guide to the Budget

Financial Assistance
provided by:

Fiscal Policy Council of Alaska

Comparisons
Comparisons
Outlays—Per Capita
Outlays—Big Items
Outlays—History
Outlays—Rankings
Jobs and Payroll—Per Capita
Jobs and Payroll—Big Items
Jobs and Payroll—History
Jobs and Payroll—Rank
Assets and Debt
Financing Govt.
Compare Wyoming
Why Alaska Spends More
Tax Burden
State Share

 

 

4. Comparisons to Other States

4.5 Jobs and Payroll

State employment, as measured by the U.S. Department of Commerce (for the month of March), was 22,358 in 1997. (U.S. Dept. of Commerce counts some local government employees who are paid by state funds as state employees.) A good measure of the concentration of state government jobs is the number of jobs per 10,000 population. That year there were 367 state government jobs for every 10,000 people in Alaska. The national average was 149. That meant that the Alaska concentration was 2.46 times the national average.

Public employment, the combination of state and local government jobs, was less concentrated in Alaska because of the prevalence of state, compared to local government, jobs in Alaska. In 1997 there were 45,490 public employees in Alaska—747 public jobs for every 10,000 people in Alaska. The national average was 531. That meant that the Alaska concentration was 1.41 times the national average.

Alaska Government Employment in 1997
 
Alaska
Alaska per 10K population
U.S. Avg per 10K population
Ratio AK/US Avg
State FTE Jobs
22,358
367
149
2.46
Local FTE Jobs
23,132
380
382
1.00
Public (State+ Local) FTE Jobs
45,490
747
531
1.41
Source: U.S. Dept of Commerce, Governmental Finances. FTE is "full- time equivalent."

The public employment comparison to the U.S. average, 1.41, is much less than the COLA-adjusted outlays comparison, 1.87. This reflects the fact that a large share of the extra Alaska spending is directed at payments directly to households and businesses rather than to employees.

The ratio of public employee concentration in Alaska was a bit lower in 1998.

Alaska Government Employment in 1998
 
Alaska
Alaska per 10 K population
U.S. Avg per 10 K population
Ratio Ak/US Avg
State FTE Jobs
22,147
361
147
2.46
Local FTE Jobs
22,069
359
389
.97
Public (State+ Local) FTE Jobs
44,216
720
536
1.34
Source: U.S. Dept of Commerce, Governmental Finances. FTE is "full- time equivalent."

If public sector jobs in Alaska had been equal to the U.S. average in 1997, public employment in Alaska would have been 32,361. The extra Alaska jobs in excess of the U.S. average amounted to 13,129.

"Extra" Alaska
Public Employment in 1997
 
Alaska
Alaska per 10 K population
FTE Jobs
45,490
747
FTE Jobs at U.S. Avg Rate
32,361
541
EXTRA FTE Jobs
13,129
-
Source: U.S. Dept of Commerce, Governmental Finances.

Wage Rate. The state government average monthly wage in 1997 was $3,614. This was 26 percent above the U.S. average.

State Average FTE Monthly Wage in 1997
Alaska
$3,614
US Average
$2,863
Ratio: AK/US
1.26
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Governmental Finances.

The combined state and local wage rate was $3,605, 1.30 times the U.S. average.

Public Average FTE Monthly Wage in 1997
 
State + Local
Local
State
Alaska
$ 3,605
$3,596
$ 3,614
U.S. Average
$ 2,773
$ 2,738
$ 2,863
Ratio: AK/US
1.30
1.31
1.26
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Governmental Finances.

The COLA-adjusted wage rate was 1.06 times the U.S. Average.

Payroll. In March of 1997 the Alaska public payroll was $164 million. Adjusted for COLA to the U.S. average price level, it was $133 million.

If the concentration of public employees had been the same in Alaska as the U.S. average and Alaska public employees had been paid at the same rate as the U.S. average, the Alaska payroll would have been $90 million (the U.S. average price level). The difference between $133 and $90 million—$43 million—is due mostly to the higher concentration of public employees in the state rather than a higher real wage.

Alaska Public Payroll in March of 1997
 
Wage
Employees

Payroll
(million $)

Ratio AK/US Avg
Actual
$ 3,605
45,490
$ 164
1.83
At U.S. Price Level
$ 2,931
45,490
$ 133
1.48
At U.S. Wage and Employee Concentration
$ 2,773
32,361
$ 90
-
Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Governmental Finances, and ISER.

The payroll differential is for the month of March. The differential for the entire budget year would be a little less than 12 times this amount—$516 million—primarily due to the 9-month work year for teachers.

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Page Updated April 16, 2003

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