Number of full-time equivalent state employees continues to rise

Jason Mercier |
Evergreen Freedom Foundation


Olympia, WA - Numbers released by the Department of Personnel (DOP) last week imply that state employment is down, but data provided by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) show that the number of full-time equivalent positions on the state payroll has increased, not decreased, in the last year.

DOPís numbers are based on a headcount of individuals employed by the state (anyone who has worked for any period of time). OFM tracks FTEs, reflecting the number of positions equivalent to full-time employment. The legislature budgets employment figures based on FTEs, not headcounts.

When asked about recent DOP data showing a decrease in state employment, Pam Davidson, OFM Senior Budget Assistant, said, "DOPís headcount doesnít show how many people are working half-time. Using headcount to show full-time equivalent employment is not accurate."

Davidson went on to say that state employment figures are best represented by FTE data.

The state plans to add 1,526 new FTEs in the 2003-05 operating budget. Only when excluding nearly 17 percent of the operating budget (Higher Education), are budgeted FTEs expected to decrease. Press accounts last week reporting DOPís numbers excluded higher education employment.

"It is disingenuous to exclude entire agencies and programs when reporting state employment numbers," said Jason Mercier, a budget analyst for the Olympia-based Evergreen Freedom Foundation. "Taxpayers supported more state employees in 2003 than prior years, and it looks like this trend will continue."

The FTE increase is present for both the stateís general fund ($23 billion) and total overall spending ($54 billion).

Click here for General Fund State FTE figures

Year Gen
Gov. Human
Serv. Natural
Res. Trans. Ed. Total
2001 2,924.6 17,131.6 2,157.2 416.4 18,463.8 41,093.6
2002 2,904.3 17,398.2 2,188.7 391.3 18,554.6 41,437.1
2003 3,030.1 18,466.7 2,109.4 187 18,561.4 42,354.6
Increase 105.5 1,335.1 <47.8> <229.4> 97.6 1,261

Overall FTE figures

Year Gen
Gov. Human
Serv. Natural
Res. Trans. Ed. Total
2001 8,587.1 32,883.9 6,190.4 10,806.9 44,080.8 102,549.1
2002 8,760.7 33,080.0 6,307.2 10,531.0 45,139.3 103,818.2
2003 8,868.8 32,911.6 6,288.1 10,406.9 45,778.6 104,254.1
Increase 281.7 27.7 97.7 <400> 1,697.8 1,705

Figures provided by OFM. K-12 employees are excluded from the education employment figures (they are counted at the local government level, not state).

Contact: Jason Mercier | Budget Research Analyst | (360) 956-3482


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site