Is there an explosion in state government employment? Yup.

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We’ve been at this one with the administration for a few years now, and every time we ask about a dataset that strongly suggests that there has been outsized growth in state employment, we get stammering replies about a one-month, one-quarter, or one-year fluctuation that goes in the other direction.

Since that time, we have sought apples-to-apples information on employment to monitor changes in government employment. There are several ways to get at the question of changes in state government employment (see the three principal ones below). To give you clarity, I thought it would be useful to post up the three major data sets. On each of the measures, we observe an increase in state employment of between 10.9 and 16 percent since 2004:

  • All state employees
        (13.9% increase): The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides numbers that are comprehensive and include all state authorities and agencies. By

    BLS statistics

      , Massachusetts state government has grown by 15,600 positions, from 112,100 in December 2004 to 127,700 in December 2012.
  • Budgeted state workers
        (16%): Official state bond offering documents provide the number of budgeted state workers.

    Those official state bond statistics

      indicate that state government employment has grown by 11,992 positions, from 74,741 in 2004 to 86,733 in 2012.
  • State employees excluding quasi-governmental employees
        (10.9%): The state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report includes the total state workforce (excluding quasi-governmental agencies).

    According to the state’s 2012 CAFR

      , state government has increased the number of positions by 8,342, from 76,120 in 2004 to 84,462 in 2012.

During budget times especially, this is a story, dear newspapers.

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