Amid Proposed Cuts, How Lean is MN’s Work Force?

Republican legislators are looking to cut the state's work force in an effort to help ease a huge budget deficit-but a report by Minnesota Public Radio suggests that the state's work force is already lean.

A House bill introduced by Republican legislators that would eventually eliminate about 5,000 state jobs raises the question: How does Minnesota's current work force compare to that of other states? According to a report by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), it's leaner than most states'-even before the proposed cuts.

A GOP proposal in the state legislature aims to eliminate 15 percent of the state's work force in an effort to reduce a $5 billion budget deficit. Other states are also considering layoffs, but the 15 percent proposal is the most dramatic cut on the table, according to MPR.

Citing figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, MPR reports that-despite the fact that Minnesota is a relatively high-tax state-Minnesota doesn't have a very large work force. As of September 2010, Minnesota had about eight non-education state workers per 1,000 residents-placing it 37th among all states.

Art Rolnick, an economist and former research director for the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, told MPR that Minnesota's work force is lean compared to other states. State Economist Tom Stinson echoed the statement, adding that Minnesota pays a greater share of local government expenditures, including education, than most states do.

The House bill under consideration would affect all state employees, except those working for state colleges and universities, which reportedly equates to roughly 38,000 people. MPR reports that one of the bill's sponsors expects Governor Mark Dayton to veto the proposed 15 percent cut to state employees, but the governor's own budget proposal calls for reductions in some portions of Minnesota's work force.

To learn more about the proposed cuts and how Minnesota's work force stacks up against other states, read the entire MPR report here.