State government is getting smaller

By Aaron Rice
February 5, 2019

A new report shows a sharp decline in the state government workforce over the past 15 years.

According to the Office of the State Auditor, the number of state government employees has decreased by more than 5,200 dating back to 2004. The bulk of the reduction, about 4,500 employees, is from the past nine years.

“While there have been reductions-in-force (RIFs) actions at some state agencies—The Office of the State Auditor underwent two such RIFs in the last decade—most of the reductions have been through attrition and voluntary separations, which include resignations and retirement,” the report notes. “In fact, in FY 2018, 65% of those who left state government left through resignations, and 13% of those who left state government retired.

“Aside from reduction by attrition, the State has likely also been able to reduce the workforce through increased use of technology and automated services. For instance, automating certain processes using kiosks or online services may eliminate unnecessary positions.”

As a result, the ratio of citizens to state employees has improved from 94:1 in 2010 to 108:1 today. The puts Mississippi ahead of Arkansas (50:1) and Louisiana (66:1), but behind Alabama (158:1) and Tennessee (167:1) in terms of efficiency.


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