Charting NH’s Incredible Shrinking Government

Catherine Idsae

Two hallmarks of Republican legislative leadership these past couple of sessions have been a commitment to small government and the use of deep cuts to state government to bridge budget gaps. And now that the state’s released its dryly-titled “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report: For the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2011,” we can get our arms around the scope of these cuts as they relate to jobs.

Granted, it’s not necessarily riveting reading, but the numbers provide an intriguing glimpse into how state government grew–and shrank–in the years before, during, and after the Great Recession.  You can drag your cursor over the chart below to get exact employment figures for each year.

It’s clear that the legislature has dramatically slashed the government payroll over the past couple of years.  From FY 2006-2010, the total number of state employees hovered somewhere between 20,412 and 22,076.  Then, in FY 2011, that number dropped sharply, to 17,857 workers (but, as we note below, this number could be deceiving).

Here are some other interesting points in the data:

  • Between FY 2008 and 2011, state government shed 893 full-time workers.
  • Meanwhile, the part-time and temporary payroll peaked in FY 2009, gaining 977 workers from the previous year.
  • In FY 2009, total government employment peaked at 22,076.*
  • In FY 2011, the combined full-, part-time, and temporary payroll dropped to 17,857.  (Part of that decline could be a reflection of part-time workers at the Community College System of New Hampshire not being counted in that year’s stats.)


*We talked with Assistant Administrative Services Commissioner Joe Bouchard, who confirmed very little of this employment spike was due to federal stimulus funding.  That money mainly flowed through the state to the private sector, and was focused primarily on infrastructure work.

Ed. Note: We previously reported that “between FY 2009 and FY 2011, the state cut a total of 4,219 jobs.”  The data from the Department of Administrative Services for FY 2011 did not, however, include part-time and temporary employment for the Community College System of New Hampshire.  We are currently checking into those numbers to bring you more accurate figures, and have since changed the report to reflect the ambiguity of the FY 2011 totals.  We regret the error.


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