Department of Mental Health is largest agency in the state

By Steve Wilson
May 1, 2019

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health has the state’s largest workforce according to analysis of appropriations bills signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant.

The department has 7,112 full-time workers and 600 temporary full-timers, the most by far among state agencies. It represents 25.8 percent of the state’s workforce of 27,610.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is second, with 3,384 full-time employees and no temporary ones. Its employee roster represents 12.2 percent of the state’s workforce.

The Department of Corrections is third, with 2,685 full-time employees and 474 temporary full-timers. 

Fourth is the Department of Public Safety, which includes state troopers and the state Bureau of Narcotics. The agency employs 1,501 full-time, permanent workers and 90 temporary full-timers.

Fifth is the Department of Human Services, which administers federal welfare programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF). This agency has 1,741 full-time workers, with an additional 932 employed in time-limited, full-time positions.

AgencyTotal full-time employees
Department of Mental Health7,712
Department of Transportation3,384
Department of Corrections2,802
Department of Human Services2,215
Department of Public Safety1,591
Department of Health2,004
Department of Medicaid1,000
Department of Rehabilitation1,155
Department of Revenue810
Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks712
Department of Finance and Administration506

The top five agencies in terms of number of employees represent 59.45 percent of the state’s workforce.

Each appropriation bill lists the number of employees at an agency and the performance goals for the agency in the upcoming fiscal year. 

These performance measures were implemented fully in 2017 after being passed by the legislature in 1994.

Mississippi is mid-pack among its neighbors when the ratio of state employees to citizens in considered. 

According to a February report by the state auditor’s office, Mississippi has 108 citizens per every state employee, worse than only Tennessee (167 citizens per state worker) and Alabama (158 citizens per state worker).

Louisiana has 66 citizens per state worker, while Arkansas is the worst in the region with only 50 citizens for every state employee.

When it comes to shrinking the size of the state workforce, Mississippi has followed the trend of its neighbors. 

Since 2004, the state has shrunk its workforce by more than 5,200, with 4,500 of the reductions coming in the last seven years.

In 2010, Mississippi had 94 workers for every resident. Louisiana had 48 state workers for every citizen, Alabama had 144 state workers per resident and Tennessee had 143 state employees per citizen. Only Arkansas showed only a small improvement, shrinking from 51 state workers per resident in 2010 to 50 in 2017.

According to data from the state’s 2018 comprehensive annual financial report, 20 percent of the state’s workforce is employed by government at some level, a slight decrease from 2008, when 20.3 were paid by taxpayers.


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