Posted at 11:19 AM on March 3, 2011
by Tim Nelson
A study released this morning by the Economic Policy Institute says public employees earn 8 percent less than their private sector counterparts, when controlling for education, experience, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship, disability and hours worked annually.
That's a lot of caveats, but the EPI says it based its research on data collected by the U.S. Census.
It's hard to tease out a conclusion, because the report paints a very different picture of the private and public workforces. EPI says government employees are almost half again as likely to have a college degree, they work fewer hours, and they get more of their compensation as "non wage" benefits like health care, retirement, and paid time off.
The report is the latest in a series of studies by the EPI, which has done similar studies in Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin. (The Wisconsin number, by the way, pegs the public workforce as getting about 5 percent less than private sector workers.)
The EPI says its research focuses on "the economic condition of low- and middle-income Americans and their families."
It isn't overtly poiltical, but its board includes representatives of the Communication Workers of America, the United Steelworkers, the United Autoworkers, Service Employees International Union, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. That's the union that represents 1.6 million public sector workers across the country.
You can read the report here.