In 2010 workers in central government fell from 1,047,041 to 1,027,179 but those in so-called semi-government agencies which include state enterprises and authorities rose to 271,923 from 266,543.
Sri Lanka's rulers started expand the state from 2004 partly due to military recruitment but also to win votes especially by giving jobs to unemployable graduates setting the stage for a tax banditry scheme running into billions of rupees.
In 2010 however the state also froze wages helping bring down the budget deficit. However analysts say rather than freezing wages, the public sector should be trimmed as most government departments are overstaffed.
Unlike ordinary citizens, state worker and rulers do not pay income tax in Sri Lanka though promises have been made to end the oppressive law.
Sri Lanka's state workers were reduced from the mid 1990s to 2003. But the past few years the cadre went back up to old levels.