The size of Mecklenburg County government's workforce grew slightly faster than that of the private sector but less than the overall population from 2000-01 to 2009-10, according to a new study from the John W. Pope Civitas Institute.
According to the study from the conservative Raleigh-based institute, Mecklenburg's county government workforce grew from 4,900 in the 2000-01 budget year to 4,968 for the year that ended June 30. That's a rate of 1.4 percent. The number of jobs fluctuated repeatedly over the past decade.
By comparison, the number of jobs in the private sector grew by 1.1 percent during the same time period, according to the study. The overall county population grew by an estimated 28.6 percent.
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The study used data from an annual tax and budget survey by the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, and doesn't take into account layoffs for the budget year that started July 1.
“Mecklenburg County was given an average C grade because they fell into the group of counties that at least showed some restraint in terms of county government employee growth," Civitas Institute analyst Brian Balfour said in a news release. "While they did add county workers, they did so at a pace reflective of the county’s population growth.”
The study further defined a C grade as one for "counties that grew their government workforce at a rate less than the rate of their population growth, or at a rate less than twice the rate of population growth."
The highest grades were given to county governments that shrunk their workforce while the population increased. Two Charlotte-area counties, Burke and Caldwell, were given an A grade.
Alexander, Cabarrus, Iredell, Rowan and Union Counties also were given C grades, while Gaston and Lincoln were awarded Ds.
Caldwell and Cleveland received Fs, a grade reserved for "counties that grew their government workforce despite a drop in the county’s population; or grew their government workforce more then four times the rate of the county’s population growth."
Wake County also received a C. --APRIL BETHEA