News Story

Average Michigan Government Employee Compensation Exceeds Six Figures For The First Time

Combined cost of salary and benefits for state workers jumped from $98K to $104K last year

The Michigan Civil Service Commission’s website boasts: "Invest your talent with the state of Michigan. The rewards are enormous."

In fact, for the first time, the average salary and benefit package for state employees surpassed $100,000 a year in 2011-2012.

The average combined cost of salary and benefits for a state worker jumped to $104,067 in 2011-12, increasing from $97,883 in 2010-11.

James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, did the analysis using the Michigan Civil Service Commission’s certified aggregate payroll.

When factoring in inflation, the cost of benefits for a state employee has increased 75 percent since 1998-99. Overall, average compensation has risen 31 percent over the past 13 years.

The 2011-12 fiscal year was the first involving Gov. Rick Snyder. The number of state full-time jobs remained almost the same. There were 47,818 full-time equivalent employees in 2010-11. That dropped to 47,802 in 2011-12.

The state's total base pay decreased from $2.87 billion in 2010-11 to $2.81 billion in 2011-12. However, the cost of benefits increased from $1.8 billion to $2.2 billion in 2011-12. A little more than $350 million of the increased costs of benefits was attributed to the state starting to pre-fund employees' retirement health care, Hohman said.

Gov. Snyder's spokespeople didn't respond to a request for comment.

The cost of a state employee has risen steadily since 1998-99, when the average cost of pay and benefits was $79,409, when adjusted for inflation.

That state's full-time workforce has dropped from 60,066 in 1998-99 to 47,802 in 2011-12. However, the state’s cost for benefits has risen from $1.23 billion in 1998-99 when factoring inflation to $2.16 billion in 2011-12, a 76 percent increase.

Hohman said the costs for the state are going to increase if it doesn’t cut retiree health care. Hohman said employees won’t see any extra money, but the state will pay much more to make up for past years when retiree health care wasn't pre-funded.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.