Public vs Private Workers: Who Earns More?

State governments pay on average 6.2 percent more per hour in wages and benefits, including pension benefits, than the private sector according a new report from Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW). Public Servants or Privileged Class highlights the disparities between public and private sector compensation by looking at 22 major occupational categories that exist in both sectors. In 16 out of the 22 categories, government workers were paid more in wages and benefits than their private sector counterparts.

The report also graded each state on the disparity between public and private pay. Pennsylvania earned a “D” with the ninth-highest gap between public and private sector compensation among the 50 states. Pennsylvania state government employees made an average of $34.83 an hour (including benefits), while those in the private sector averaged $25.88.

Compensation disparity is often misrepresented or ignored in debates on key issues such as public pension reform, but bringing public sector wages and benefits in line with the private sector represents a critical step towards putting our fiscal house in order. As we’ve highlighted, public pension contributions in Pennsylvania are set to spike in the coming years—placing a greater burden on taxpayers who enjoy less compensation.

The Commonwealth Foundation has outlined a series of reforms to deal with the pension crisis and we’re also hosting the Great State Pension Debate this Thursday to bring more awareness to this critical issue that will affect the pocketbooks of all Pennsylvanians.