The Biden administration has proposed a $6 trillion budget aimed at improving infrastructure, education, and health care. If passed, it would push federal spending to its highest level since World War II. It could also usher in the reversal of a long term-trend of declining government employment.

Over the last decade, the number of Americans employed by governments at the local, state, and federal levels has fallen from 22.5 million in 2010 to 21.9 million in 2020, a 2.6% drop. Nationwide, the public sector accounts for 15.4% of all employment. Government employment is not evenly distributed across the country, however. Depending on the state, the share of all jobs in the public sector ranges from less than 13% to over 25%.

In Arizona, 14.5% of the workforce are employed by the government -- either at the state, local, or federal level -- the 14th lowest share of all states. In keeping with the national trend, the number of government workers in Arizona has decreased in recent years. There are currently 412,500 public sector workers in the state, down 0.9% from 2010.

States with a larger than typical share of public sector workers often have higher than average government spending on a per capita basis -- and vise-versa. Arizona is no exception. Per capita state and local government spending in the state totaled $7,149 in 2019, compared to the $10,131 national average.

Data on government employment and total employment are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 24/7 Wall St. calculated the share of government employment. Preliminary data on direct state and local government expenditure in 2019 came from the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances with figures was adjusted for population using data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. These are the states where the most people work for the government.

RankStateGovernment as share of total employment (%)State & local annual government spending per capita ($)Total government employment
1Alaska25.518,45576,800
2Wyoming24.414,77966,600
3New Mexico22.610,769180,400
4West Virginia22.09,357148,400
5Hawaii21.711,216120,800
6Oklahoma21.37,886345,600
7Mississippi21.39,034236,100
8Alabama19.48,740384,600
9Maryland19.310,820498,400
10North Dakota19.312,01679,300
11Montana19.09,20189,100
12Kansas18.59,608250,900
13Virginia18.59,357712,100
14Vermont18.411,88052,800
15South Dakota18.08,12576,700
16South Carolina17.68,855366,300
17Louisiana17.39,518318,000
18Washington17.110,750561,400
19Nebraska17.09,482168,400
20Arkansas16.88,421208,200
21Iowa16.710,157252,100
22Colorado16.79,704441,000
23Idaho16.57,436124,300
24New York16.415,6771,443,500
25Maine16.49,39297,800
26North Carolina16.38,460714,000
27Kentucky16.38,907298,300
28Texas16.08,7151,964,900
29Utah16.09,342245,100
30Oregon15.612,075284,700
31Georgia15.47,148680,200
32California15.412,9702,487,100
33Missouri15.38,198424,700
34New Jersey15.010,675578,600
35Delaware14.911,58965,600
36Minnesota14.611,159406,400
37Arizona14.57,149412,500
38Ohio14.59,648759,200
39Tennessee14.47,409432,500
40Michigan14.49,343581,500
41Connecticut14.39,927223,800
42Illinois13.89,832785,800
43Indiana13.88,959412,400
44Rhode Island13.811,04363,200
45Wisconsin13.79,545386,200
46New Hampshire13.48,61085,400
47Florida13.07,9461,108,900
48Massachusetts13.011,976437,800
49Nevada12.58,057159,600
50Pennsylvania12.210,841685,000