4. Comparisons to Other States
4.5 Jobs and Payroll
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.
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.
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.
The combined state and local wage rate was $3,605, 1.30 times the U.S. average.
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.
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.
Page Updated April 16, 2003
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