report 336
In Brief
This study examines several dimensions of change in the
State of Michigan’s classified workforce. The Michigan
Department of Civil Service defines classified employees
as those under the jurisdiction of the state’s Civil Service
Commission, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and
intermittent employees. Efforts were made to obtain data
on personal services contracts to determine if outsourcing
or privatization of state functions has changed significantly
and contributed to the changes in the numbers of state
employees. Unfortunately, data are not available over a
long period of time and the existing data do not include
the number of external employees contracted to perform
state work.
In some cases, the data contained in this report date from
FY1966, directly following the reorganization of state government
pursuant to Michigan’s Constitution of FY1963.
The Department of Civil Service (MDCS) collected annual
average data on classified employment levels for each
department culminating in Annual Workforce Reports, first
published by the MDCS in FY1980. The time periods
chosen for the analysis in this study closely conform to those
available from Workforce Reports. Characteristics of the
workforce such as gender, ethnicity, and union membership
are examined to determine the nature of changes occurring
during the period for which data are available. The
analysis also examines trends in the base payroll for classified
employees and the costs of fringe benefits and taxes
paid by the state as an employer. Included in this section of
the report are data compiled by the Department of Civil
Service on the relationship between compensation for employees
and total state government spending.
Scope and Definitions
From FY1966 to FY2004, Michigan’s state civil service
workforce experienced considerable fluctuation in both size
and composition. The overall number of state employees
rose steadily from around 36,000 employees in FY1965 to
its peak of nearly 70,000 full-time equivalent employees in
FY1980. This period of expansion was followed by a modest
downward trend, resulting in the current employment
level of approximately 55,000 in FY2003. The overall decline
in the state workforce after FY1980 belies increases in
the areas of state government pertaining to the environment,
safety and defense, and corrections. The most striking increase
has been in the Department of Corrections, where
employment increased from 5 percent of the state’s workforce
in FY1966 to 7 percent in FY1980, swelling to 31 percent
in FY2003. Human services employment increased from
46 percent of the state workforce in FY1966 to a high of 49
percent in FY1980, only to decline to 28 percent in FY2003.
Corresponding to the relative growth or decline of departments,
specific types of classified workers have become either more or
less prevalent. Protective Services employees, the majority of
which are affiliated with the Department of Corrections, have
increased from around 5,000 in FY1980 to more than 13,000
in FY2003. By contrast, levels of paraprofessionals and office/
clerical staff have both dropped to less than half their FY1980
levels of 17,000 and 15,000, respectively.
In addition to fluctuations in the size and departmental
affiliation of the state workforce, the proportion of minorities
in the state workforce has generally increased. The level
of combined minority employment currently rests at approximately
23 percent of the overall workforce. Though
FY2003 levels of minority employment are higher than in
FY1980 (20 percent), current figures mark a decline from a
high of 25 percent seen in FY1989. The overall percentage
of women in the state classified workforce has declined since
FY1980 from almost 54 percent of the workforce to 51
percent in FY2003. However, if one disregards the rapid
increase in corrections employment, which consists overwhelmingly
of males, the proportion of female state employees
has risen from 56 to 59 percent of the workforce.
Finally, expenditures on classified employment have dropped
gradually to 10 percent of state spending in FY2003, down
from 17 percent in FY1982.


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