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The Daily Reckoning

More details on overpaid federal workers

By Rocky VegaGuest blogger / March 8, 2010

A census worker is seen in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York on Monday, Feb. 22. Do federal workers make more than their private-industry counterparts?

Frances M. Roberts/Newscom/file

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This is a hot button issue… many federal workers are going to read statistics about how a number of occupations in the public sector get paid more than their private sector counterparts and they are simply not going to believe it. Clearly, it’s frustrating for both sides. An article today digs a little further into specifics and helps explain the details behind the discrepancy as well as some explanatory factors that make sense to consider.

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From USA Today:

“Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

“Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.

“These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.”

Aside from the summary and description of the matter, the article links to a useful list of 40 specific job titles that shows “federal salaries exceed average private-sector pay in 83% of comparable occupations.” The table is found here. Should government jobs be better paid than industry positions? If somehow public employees are contributing more to a productive economy, then sure, it would make sense. Whether or not that is likely, or even possible, is something worth considering.

Visit USA Today’s coverage of how federal pay is ahead of private industry for more information and data to support the findings.

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