Overpaid Public-Sector Employees

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that state and local government employee total compensation is now 47 percent higher than for private-sector employees.

Total compensation for federal, state, and local government employees cost taxpayers $1.9 trillion in 2016, or about $15,176 per household.  Although a 2010 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found full-time private industry workers worked an average of 12 percent more hours per year than state and local government workers, private-sector workers on average make less in every category.

Most Americans are under the impression that the $50.03 average total hourly compensation for state and local employees versus the $34.53 an hour for private-sector employees is due to public-sector defined benefit pension costs.

Against the State: An ... Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Best Price: $4.62 Buy New $9.95 (as of 03:15 EDT - Details) BLS hourly data reveals that state and local government employees receive $18.80 in benefits compared to $10.48 for the private sector, a spread of $8.32 or 79 percent more.  But state and local employee hourly wages and salaries average $31.23 versus $24.06 for private-sector employees, a spread of $7.17 or 30 percent more.  That means that public-sector paychecks are also 29 percent higher than private-sector paychecks.

When confronted with the fact that public-sector workers make tremendously more than the average working taxpayer, progressives claim that the lower private-sector worker “average” hourly wages and salaries are due to businesses paying their top 10 percent of executives disproportionally more than public-sector managers to do similar work.  But the BLS reported that per hour wages and salaries for the top 10 percent of state and local employees were $53.54 versus $45.08 an hour for the top 10 percent for the private sector, a spread of $8.46 or 16 percent bigger paychecks for public-sector managers.

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