State governments employ millions of people in a variety of roles.
The U.S. Census has data on state and local government employment. I used the 2007 State Government data to compile the information here. In 2007 state governments had 4,306,623 full time equivalent (FTE) employees. FTE employees is a combination of full time and part time.
Here is the list of the full time equivalent employees by function for all states combined :
|Full-time equivalent Employment|
|Other Government Administration||56,382|
|Judicial and Legal||173,021|
|Police Protection Total||106,595|
|--Police Officers Only||67,159|
|--Other Police Employees||39,436|
|Water Transport and Terminals||4,968|
|Social Insurance Administration||79,165|
|Solid Waste Management||1,928|
|Parks and Recreation||34,768|
|Elementary & Secondary Education Total||52,143|
|--Elem & Sec Instructional||39,139|
|--Elem & Sec Other||13,004|
|Higher Education Total||1,596,652|
|--Higher Ed Instructional||522,198|
|--Higher Ed Other||1,074,454|
|State Liquor Stores||7,813|
|All Other and Unallocable||197,546|
Here's how the major functional groups look as far as percent of total employment :
You can see that higher education and education in general is the largest segment of state government employment. The next largest area of employment is corrections (prisons/jails) and then the third highest is hospitals.