Wisconsin had 8.2% fewer state and local government employees per capita than the national average in 2008. The state had 50.35 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees for every 1,000 state residents vs. 54.82 for the U.S. and ranked 41st nationally, according to a new study from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX). The study, “Wisconsin’s Public Workforce,” details public employment and pay using 2008 Census figures, the most recent available. WISTAX is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to public policy research and education.
The study also compares public employee salaries and total compensation (salaries plus benefits) at the state and local levels. The average salary for a Wisconsin state employee was $53,703, 4.3% higher than the national average ($51,507). State salaries here were above those in Michigan but below salaries in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. When estimated benefits were added to salaries, total compensation averaged $71,000. That was 5.9% above the national average, but still below Iowa and Minnesota.