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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Incredible Shrinking Government

From December 2005 to December 2006, the population of the State of Utah grew by 2.7%. Total employment in the state grew 4.7%.

This bit of research shows that the number of people employed by state government only grew 1.88%.

Bottom line: As a percentage of the total Utah workforce and as a segment of the population as a whole, your state government is shrinking.


Blogger Steve said...

Not to be picky or anything, but you can't make such a claim on one data point. All data has inherit "noise." This could be just a case where government employment does not have a direct annual correlation to population growth or total employment.

To make this truly meaningful, you would have to run this through a statistical process control chart (SPC) to filter out the normal "random" variations from year to year.

The real bottom line is that the government may or may not be shrinking based on those data points. Let's see what happens the next 2 years and compare more data points.

1/24/2007 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hey, Honey! My stomach cancer grew only 1.88 percent last month, even though I put on between 2.7 and 4.7 percent more weight. My cancer is shrinking!"

Nice try.

Utahns ought to reflect on what it means that the Republican-controlled state senate is now promoting the "some-increases-are-decreases/cuts" rhetoric made famous by big government-types back in Washington, D.C.

1/24/2007 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All one need to do is go to the DMV to understand how woefully understaffed Utah government is. All those dolts who scream hurray to low government employment don't understand that government is necessary and so are government employees. All you anarchists need to get a clue.

1/24/2007 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And a nice attempt to cover up your initial effort at misleading the public.

As of this posting, your "Bottom line" now reads "As a percentage of the total Utah workforce and as a segment of the population as a whole, your state government is shrinking."

Fortunately, today's UtahPolicy.com already published the initial post:

Bottom line: Your state government is shrinking as a percentage of the total Utah workforce and as a segment of the population as a whole.

Notice the change in emphasis once the clauses have been swapped.

Utahns ought to reflect on the integrity of an institution that employs someone to "spin" voters in this way. And if it's really "our" state government, to whom can we sell our ownership stake?

1/24/2007 1:17 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Dear Sherlock Holmes: I think the two sentences convey exactly the same meaning. No change of emphasis was intended. I edited the words a little this morning because I thought it would read better. Now, I don't want to scare anyone but I also changed the words "This Sheet" to "This bit of research." For the same reason. Sometimes a good night's sleep refreshes the poet within.

Anonymous #1: LOL! Reflect away, "Anonymous," it's good for the soul.

Steve: Good points. Thanks.

The same set of numbers can be scrutinized different ways; we thought this layout was illuminating. I talked with Mike Jerman this morning and he has a different way of slicing the numbers. Look for it here or on his site: The Utah Taxpayer. You should check out the voucher blog while you're there!

1/24/2007 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the number looks good I don't thing state government employment for 1 year is the best indicator of government growth. Do me a favor, give me a graph that compares total government budget growth to total to total population growth corrected for inflation for the last 10 years. That a number that is more meaningful to me.

1/25/2007 12:07 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

That's a fair request (a.k.a. I think we have that data around here somewhere and it shouldn't be hard to find). We're in a caucus meeting now, but give me two hours. I'll dig up some stats on the number of public employees and how their porportional relationship to society at large has changed over time.

1/25/2007 1:26 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Okay, here's the data I promised. Knock yourself out on this eye candy.

* Pages 1 and 2: A smorgasbord of government employment stats from 1950 to 2005;

* Page 3: A graph of state government as a percent of total employment from 1950 on; and

* Page 4: The ratio of state government employees per 1000 people over that same time period.

1/25/2007 11:10 PM  

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