Study: R.I. has lowest share nationwide of public-sector jobs

A new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that Rhode Island claims the lowest share nationwide of public-sector and federal contract jobs as a percentage of all nonfarm payroll jobs, with 14.3 percent of all jobs in the state falling in the public sector. More

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Study: R.I. has lowest share nationwide of public-sector jobs

COURTESY MERCATUS CENTER AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
RHODE ISLAND boasts the lowest number of public-sector and federal contract jobs as a percentage of all nonfarm payroll jobs, according to a study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. In the Ocean State, 14.3 percent of all jobs are federal or state government jobs, or private-sector jobs funded by federal contract spending.
Posted 12/2/13

PROVIDENCE – A new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that Rhode Island claims the lowest share nationwide of public-sector and federal contract jobs as a percentage of all nonfarm payroll jobs, with 14.3 percent of all jobs in the state falling in the public sector.

Massachusetts’ share of public-sector and federal contract jobs was the 12th-lowest in the country at 16.8 percent, while New Mexico’s was the highest with 31.9 percent of its jobs in the public sector.

The study, compiled by former U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Keith Hall and Robert Greene of the Mercatus Center, examined the extent to which the 50 U.S. states rely on public-sector and federal contracting jobs (private-sector jobs funded by federal contract spending).

“Direct government employment fails to capture the full impact of government spending on state labor markets,” the report stated. “Using federal contract data obtained from USAspending.gov, we estimated the percentage of private-sector jobs actually financed by federal contract dollars in each state.”

Hall and Greene estimated the number of federal contract-funded private-sector jobs in each state by calculating federal contract spending as a percentage of the sum of federal contract spending and nonfarm private-sector GDP, and multiplying that percentage by total nonfarm private-sector payroll jobs.

The study did not include state government contract spending data, but did include direct state government employment.

The study found that 1.4 percent of all private-sector jobs in Rhode Island are actually financed by federal contract dollars, placing the Ocean State at No. 37 in terms of its private-sector’s dependence on the federal government. In Massachusetts, which ranked at No. 14, 3.5 percent of private-sector jobs rely on federal contract funding.

Nationally, an average 2.7 percent of all private-sector jobs stem from federal funding, the report said, with Virgnia’s 10.7 percent at No. 1.

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