Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Public employees get one heck of a raise

It’s official. Public workers make more in salaries and benefits than private sector employees. Here’s another way to look at it: We employers are basically paying our employees more than we make.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, “federal civilian workers with no more than a high school education earned about 21 percent more, on average, than similar workers in the private sector.”

Public workers with higher degrees still earned about 23 percent less than their private-sector counterparts. Here’s a more in-depth breakdown:

“Among employees with a high school diploma or less education, total compensation (wages and benefits) costs averaged 36 percent more in the federal sector. Among people whose education culminated in a bachelor’s degree, the cost of total compensation averaged 15 percent more for federal workers than for similar workers in the private sector. By contrast, among people with a professional degree or doctorate, total compensation costs were 18 percent lower for federal employees, than for similar private-sector employees, on average.” – CBO director’s summary

Of course, this news isn’t all that new. The power shift from private to public has been taking place for years.

In 2009, government workers earned on average $47,552, compared to private employees, who made on average $45,155. And in 2008, the public-private wage disparity for some jobs – accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors -- was even more pronounced. On average, taxpayers paid $67,681 for those positions in 2008; private employers, meanwhile, paid $60,046.

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