Report: ND state workers paid leastGRAND FORKS – North Dakota paid its state employees less on average than any other state in 2010, according to a new report released Friday.
By: Forum Communications Co., The Dickinson Press
GRAND FORKS – North Dakota paid its state employees less on average than any other state in 2010, according to a new report released Friday.
The average 2010 payroll per state employee in North Dakota was $33,895, according to analysis of recently released U.S. Census of Governments data by the Center for Governmental Research.
West Virginia, South Dakota, Missouri and Indiana rounded out the nation’s five lowest-paying states, with each paying their state employees an average of about $34,000 in 2010.
Minnesota had the seventh-highest average per worker payroll of $48,342. New Jersey ranked No. 1 with $56,179 per state employee.
But North Dakota ranked toward the middle of states (No. 30) with pay raises. It increased per worker payroll 0.7 percent from 2009 to 2010 — a time when 17 other states, including Minnesota, decreased the average pay for state employees.
“Everyone seems to want cheaper government — but as the cost of government is mostly in salaries, cheaper government only comes from cutting the number of public workers or trimming average pay,” wrote Joseph Stefko, director of public finance for the Center for Governmental Research.
Minnesota employees’ average wage ticked down by 0.9 percent during that time. Hawaii’s per worker payroll dropped the most (7.3 percent), while Wyoming’s employees had the highest increase (8.4 percent) from 2009 to 2010.
The report also tracked the state payroll cost per capita, finding that the smallest states generally had the highest costs.
North Dakota ranked No. 5 in that measurement with $1,243 per capita in 2010. That was a 3.6 percent increase in cost, the ninth-highest increase in the nation.
Other high-ranking states include Alaska ($2,225), Hawaii ($1,984), Delaware ($1,380) and Vermont ($1,247). Florida had the nation’s lowest per capita cost of $442.
Compiled by the staff of the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.