Employment Figures

Michigan Civil Service: 50,799
Local Public Educational: 175,973 
Total State and Local: 411,659 
University and Community College: 60,544
Imputed Local Government: 124,343

Public Sector vs. Private Sector

    • Bringing public-employee benefits in line with private-sector averages would save $5.7 billion in Michigan.
    • Public-sector bargaining privileges are not inalienable rights.
    • Public-sector wages and benefits have increased while the private-sector's have fallen.

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

  • Insurance benefits per public-sector employee are $7,149 more per year than in the private sector.
  • Retirement benefits per public-sector employee are $11,725 more per year than in the private sector.
  • Since the early 2000s, state and local government jobs as a percentage of total Michigan employment increased from around 13 percent to a high of 15.5 percent in 2009.

  • Since the beginning of the recession, the number of government jobs fell by 0.8 percent. Private-sector jobs fell 10.8 percent.

  • People that work for the state directly receive wages and benefits that cost $94,686 on average.

Public School Teachers


  • Nationally, Michigan has the 8th highest average public school teacher salary.
  • From 2003 to 2009, Michigan teaching salaries were the highest in the nation when controlling for state per capita personal income.

  • The average teacher salary in Michigan has risen for 13 consecutive years, to $63,445 for unionized teachers in conventional districts (excluding charters). The average salary for private school teachers nationally is $39,700; when including benefits, the disparity is even greater.
  • The average annual across-the-board salary increase from 2003 to 2010 was 1.8 percent.

Health Insurance

  • In 2009, teachers in 300 Michigan districts paid nothing to the costs of their own health insurance premiums.
  • For Michigan public school teachers, their average contribution to the health insurance premium for family plan is 4 percent. The Michigan private-sector average is 22 percent, and the average for federal employees in Michigan is about 25 percent.

  • Michigan public school districts spent an average of 47 percent more for a family plan health insurance premium for teachers than the private-sector average.
  • Michigan spends $1,300 per pupil on school employee health insurance, up 56 percent since 2000, after adjusting for inflation.
  • 80 percent of Michigan school districts use MESSA for at least one employee group. MESSA’s average premium went up 13 percent last year.
  • Most teachers get subsidized post-employment health insurance for life.

Other Benefits

  • From 2000 to 2010, benefits per full-time classroom teacher rose by 37 percent, even after adjusting for inflation (excluding charter school teachers)
  • Michigan spends $1,500 per pupil on school employee pensions, up 25 percent since 2000, after adjusting for inflation.
  • Michigan ranks 6th in the nation for percentage of instructional spending on employee benefits (28 percent).

  • Michigan public school employees get a defined-benefit pension that they can start collecting at age 55 after 10 years on the job or after 30 years at any age.
  • Most teachers are contractually obligated to work 185 days per year. The average private-sector work year is about 245 days.
  • Teachers are paid based only on their own educational attainment and years on the job — not on their performance in the classroom.

Stay Engaged

Simply enter your email below to receive our weekly email:


As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

Related Sites