Monday, May 7, 2012

Total Government Employees = 21.4+% of the Work Force

My tinfoil hat is a little loose today, but this article regarding our Department of Homeland Security ordering 450 Million rounds of hollow point bullets caught my eye. I don't know why, but that is just a lot of ammo no matter who you are, but it's also hollow point ammo (which is banned in multiple international conventions for military use, so they're planning on using these right here at home) not training rounds. That got me wondering how many employees work at DHS - 216,000. Wow! Over 2,000 rounds per employee... Then I thought CONTRACTORS! They outnumber employees at DHS, so I rounded up to 450,000 workers, or 1,000 hollow points per worker bee.

Then I said to myself, hold on, how many people work at DHS? 450,000? That's almost 0.15% of the US population. How many people work for the federal government? A LOT apparently. There is repeatedly disputes that the current government workforce is smaller than it has been historically, but all that data looks at top level, non-contractor, federal numbers. It's frankly hard to get the real numbers using "the Google Service" (tm My Dad coined this term while informing me last Christmas that they had gotten the Google Service at their house since I was last down to visit, so I could use it to look stuff up if I wanted), but I'm going to take a stab at estimating it just so I can feel how big the number is.

Federal Government data puts their total Employees count at 4,443,000 as of 2010:
  • 2.776mm - civilians
  • 1.602mm - uniformed military
  •  0.64mm - legislative and judicial
State Government total FTEs (full time equivalents) stood at 4,377,777 in 2010:
  • 1,824,042 (41.67% of total State Government FTEs) - Education; surprisingly, only 7.5% of these are elementary & secondary education employees?
  • 472,306 (10.8%) - Corrections! That War on Drugs is putting people to work!
  • 409,195 (9.35%) - Hospitals
  • 235,934 (5.39%) - Public Welfare
  •  230,370 (5.26%) - Highways
  • Every other category comprised less than 5% of the total
Federal Contractors - 15,683,790 estimate for 2010 (see below):
  •  Paul C Light is the guy to turn to for these numbers. He reported in the Washington Times that the number of Federal contractors rose from 4.4mm in 1999 to 7.5mm in 2005, and then to 14.6mm in 2006 (someone to fight our wars).
  • Using his numbers as a proxy, there were 14.6mm contractors in 2006 and 4.133mm Employees of the Federal Government that year, or 3.53 contractors per employee. Using that 3.53x the 4.443mm Employees in 2010, I get 15,683,790 contractors for 2010 (maybe it's less due to the draw down in the theatres of war, maybe it's more due to DHS, I don't know, but this seemed reasonable for now.
State Contractors - I have no idea how to start on this one, so let's just leave it off for now.

Total Employees & Contractors working in our government - 24,504,567

The Census Bureau tells me there are 311,591,917 folks living here, mostly citizens at the end of last year. Of those folks, 114,509,626 were working in nonfarm jobs back in 2009.

Realizing that this is somewhat of a guesstimate, but please give me feedback on how to improve it, these are pretty scary numbers. That means that 7.9% of our total population (including babies, for the love of god) are working for the government. For every 12 of us, there is a 13th person working for the government. If you limit the population to just the working population, 21.4% of the US worker bees are making government honey; LESS than 4 out of 5 worker bees are in private enterprise!

I don't know - I have never looked at these numbers this way before (apparently other folks have ad nauseum), but these seem really concerning to me. Especially since the States employee contractors as well, and so my numbers are probably conservative. What do these people do? Why is there effectively 1 government employee to represent my household, surely we can do this more efficiently - if that is as efficient as the government is going to get, then I'd rather move to a farm with wind power, a well, and our own private butler for Pete's sake. Obviously I would also want my taxes back, which include 15.3% self-employment tax, an effective (i.e. actual taxes paid divided by actual household revenue) federal rate of 11% (doesn't sound as good after the self-employment tax, does it - I wonder why Mitt Romney doesn't factor that in when he talks about taxes), and an effective state rate of 2%. I actually could afford a butler if I got to keep another 28.3% of my income each year.


Litchurch Plaza said...

I never really gave it a thought before. But now that I do it is rather alarming in a way. If the government has that many people under its employ, what do they ALL do?

crabsofsteel said...

I don't know, but it will certainly be in a lot less space. The top loan in JPMCC 07-LD11, GSA Portfolio, transferred to special servicing this month.

Concrete Jungle said...

They just ordered 750mm rounds of high velocity ammo as well, so another 1,667 rounds per DHS employee (to go along with the already ordered 1,000 rounds per DHS employee of hollow points).

Concrete Jungle said...

That's enough to shoot every American in the head approximately 3.87 times.

Concrete Jungle said...

The press that is out today regarding the heckler who wanted Michelle Obama to protect Gays and Lesbians in the workplace, had an interesting note in it. The organization behind the protest claim that over 20% of the entire workforce is made up of Federal Contractors - that is actually far greater than the number I estimated, 21.4%, which includes both contractors and employees.