The State Worker

California ranks near top in federal, state, local government pay

U.S. Census Bureau

California ranks near the top nationally in how much government workers earn, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data, and more of them work in the Golden State than anywhere else.

California governments’ per-capita staffing levels are among the nation’s lowest.

Full-time and part-time federal, state and local public employees earned an average $4,789 for the month of March 2013 when the bureau surveyed personnel numbers and pay. That ranked behind only New Jersey ($4,849 per month), New York ($4,888 per month) and well behind the federally-dominated District of Columbia ($6,069 per month).

The figures do not account for the value of pension benefits or for the cost of living, which can vary drastically from state to state.

Meanwhile, California was home to more public employees than any other state, roughly 2.09 million, or 11 percent of the government workforce nationally. Texas (8 percent), New York (7 percent) and Illinois (5 percent) rounded out the top four.

California registered one government employee for every 18 residents in the state, according to calculations by The Sacramento Bee, six spots behind Nevada, which had one employee for every 22 residents. Low-population Wyoming had one public employee for every 10 residents, followed closely by Alaska, Kansas and North Dakota.