The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 28, 2010
Study: State and local government compensation lags private sector

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence and the National Institute on Retirement Security jointly released a study this morning comparing what state and local government employees earn compared with private sector workers. Among the findings researchers noted:

Jobs in the public sector typically require more education than private sector positions. State and local employees are twice as likely to hold a college degree or higher as compared to private sector employees. Only 23 percent of private sector employees have completed college, as compared to about 48 percent in the public sector.

Wages and salaries of state and local employees are lower than those for private sector employees with comparable earnings determinants, such as education and work experience. State workers typically earn 11 percent less and local workers 12 percent less.

During the last 15 years, the pay gap has grown: Earnings for state and local workers have generally declined relative to comparable private sector employees.

The pattern of declining relative earnings remains true in most of the large states examined in the study, although there does exist some state level variation.

Benefits make up a slightly larger share of compensation for the state and local sector. But even after accounting for the value of retirement, healthcare, and other benefits, state and local employees earn less than private sector counterparts. On average, total compensation is 6.8 percent lower for state employees and 7.4 percent lower for local employees than for comparable private sector employees.

Click here to download the report. This link opens the "About the Center" page on the Center for State and Local Government Excellence website. You'll notice is has ties to retirement funds. Clicking here opens the National Institute for Retirement Security's site.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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