NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 28, 2006

While job creation in the nation rebounded strongly since 2000, Connecticut's private-sector employment picture remains grim, says the Yankee Institute. Furthermore, since the early 1990s, no other state in the country has had such stagnation in employment.

Despite dwindling private-sector employment, researchers found that the public sector has experienced:

  • Increased employment -- between 1970 and 2000, employment in Connecticut's state government grew six times faster than the general population, and municipal employment grew four times faster than population.
  • More unionization -- some 88 percent of state employees are covered by collective-bargaining agreements, whereas the state's private-worker unionization is 8 percent, down from a high of 24 percent in 1970.
  • Better pay -- in the Hartford Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), mean hourly earnings for public-sector employees are 37 percent higher than for private-sector workers.

Moreover, Connecticut's public-employee retirement system (defined-benefit pension plan) poses big burdens, say researchers:

  • Connecticut's teacher-retirement fund has a $5 billion gap between assets and liabilities. Thus, the unfunded liability for all state employees is $7 billion.
  • Retiring teachers in the City of Waterbury's school district are owed an average of $38,542 each for unused sick days, totaling $7.2 million, say researchers. This is enough to fund salaries of 182 entry-level teachers at $39,569.

Source: D. Dowd Muska, "Connecticut Public Employees Live on Easy Street," Heartland Institute, March 2006.


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