MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s one of the biggest complaints Americans have: Government is just too big.

That’s why a new study measures just how many public workers there are.

So how does Minnesota stack up? We’ll get to that in a moment.

When most of us think government, we think about feuding politicians, government shutdowns and dysfunctional Congress.

But in fact, your typical public worker looks more like a grade school teacher, a firefighter, a police officer, hospital nurses, mail carriers and snowplow drivers to name a few.

The vast majority of government workers provide essential public services.

But like everything else today, America is divided on the size, scope and cost of government.

A recent Pew Research poll found that 47% of Americans believe government should be bigger and provide more services.

While another 47% of Americans think government should be smaller, and provide fewer services.

The website 24/7 Wall Street mashed up census data, state spending and population density to calculate which states have the biggest share of government workers.

Spoiler alert: it’s not Minnesota!

In Minnesota, Mayo Clinic was the top private employer in 2018: the world famous medical facility has 41,691 workers.

Minnesota government is number two, with 40,293 workers.

Here are the Top Five Employers:

Mayo Clinic 41,691
State Govt: 40,293
Federal Govt: 34,427
Fairview Health Services: 33,350
Allina Health System: 28,465

The three states with the smallest share of government workers, according to 24/7 Wall Street?

50. Nevada 11.6%
49. Pennsylvania 11.7%
48. Rhode Island 12.3%

The three states with the largest share of government workers?

3. New Mexico 22.2%
2. Wyoming 24.1%
1. Alaska 24.6%

Minnesota has 425,500 public workers, 14.4% of the total state labor force.

That ranks 36th in the nation.

Wisconsin ranked 42nd on the list.

While Minnesota added about 7,000 federal workers over the last ten years, the Badger State lost nearly 40,000.

That’s Reality Check.

Here Are Some Of The Sources That We Used For This Reality Check:

Pat Kessler

  1. Holly Johnston says:

    Pat, I think all your info is good, except for one thing-you lead it to be understood that most if not all nurses are government employees, which is way far from the truth. In reality, the numbers are shrinking as the various hospitals are merging and getting out of public care.