SANTA FE — New Mexico's reliance on government jobs also extends into the private sector, two university researchers say.

New Mexico had the second-largest percentage of private-sector jobs financed by federal contracts, according to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The state's total was 7.7 percent.

Only Virginia was higher at 10.7 percent. Maryland, like New Mexico, was at 7.7 percent.

True private-sector jobs -- those not financed by government -- make up 68.1 percent of all jobs in New Mexico, the George Mason study found. That is the lowest percentage in the country.

Rounding out the top five states in term of private jobs tied to federal contracts were Mississippi and Alabama.

The five states with the lowest percentage of private jobs dependent on federal contracts were Oregon, Delaware, Wyoming, New York and Minnesota.

The George Mason University researchers who compiled the statistics, Keith Hall and Robert Greene, said their research showed that direct federal jobs do not account fully for government spending in states. Hall is a former commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Milan Simonich, Santa Fe Bureau chief of Texas-New Mexico Newspapers, can be reached at 505-820-6898 and msimonich@tnmnp.com. Follow him @MilansNMreport on Twitter. His blog is at nmcapitolreport.com.