Public vs. Private Employment & Pay

Policy Points

Pennsylvania's private sector lost 113,600 jobs while state and local governments added 40,200 positions between 2000 and 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Pennsylvania Public v Private Employment

At the same time, public-sector wages exceed those for comparable positions in the private sector.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania's public-sector employees are, on average, better paid than private-sector workers in similar occupations in the same geographic area, even before the public sector's more generous health-care and pension benefits are included.

 

Public and Private Sector Mean Hourly Wages, by Occupation 
Management
Pennsylvania Private Sector Public Sector
(State & Local)
Percent Difference Report Date
Philadelphia Region  $37.03 $37.08 0.14% Jan-09
York Area $29.63 $33.01 11.41% Oct-08
Pittsburgh Area $29.84 $37.02 24.06% Mar-09
Reading Area $27.14 $34.83 28.33% Jan-09
Johnstown Area $22.88 $26.00 13.64% Jun-09
Service
Pennsylvania Private Sector Public Sector
(State & Local)
Percent Difference Report Date
Philadelphia Region  $11.56 $23.37 102.16% Jan-09
York Area $8.72 $16.25 86.35% Oct-08
Pittsburgh Area $9.71 $19.16 97.32% Mar-09
Reading Area $10.20 $15.79 54.80% Jan-09
Johnstown Area $9.48 $18.53 95.46% Jun-09
Sales and Office
Pennsylvania Private Sector Public Sector (State & Local) Percent Difference Report Date
Philadelphia Region  $16.83 $19.77 17.47% Jan-09
York Area $14.08 $15.05 6.89% Oct-08
Pittsburgh Area $14.46 $17.42 20.47% Mar-09
Reading Area $15.72 $17.57 11.77% Jan-09
Johnstown Area $13.62 $12.34 -9.40% Jun-09
Natural Resources, Construction and Maintenance
Pennsylvania Private Sector Public Sector
(State & Local)
Percent Difference Report Date
Philadelphia Region  $22.18 $22.35 0.77% Jan-09
York Area $18.98 NA
Oct-08
Pittsburgh Area $18.59 $17.86 -3.93% Mar-09
Reading Area $17.23 $19.01 10.33% Jan-09
Johnstown Area $19.10 NA Jun-09
Production, Transportation and Material 
Pennsylvania Private Sector Public Sector
(State & Local)
Percent Difference Report Date
Philadelphia Region  $16.72 $19.86 18.78% Jan-09
York Area $14.94 NA
Oct-08
Pittsburgh Area $17.57 $16.21 -7.74% Mar-09
Reading Area $15.65 NA
Jan-09
Johnstown Area $14.56 NA Jun-09
Source: www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/compub.htm#PA

 

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For more on Public Employee Pensions and Benefits visit www.CommonwealthFoundation.org

The Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org) is an independent, non-profit research and educational institute.

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