Quick Hit Aricka Flowers Friday September 16th, 2011, 4:27pm

Study: Public Workers Make Less Than Those In Private Sector

New data by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence furthers the argument that public employees are not the cause of state and local budget deficits due to extravagant employee benefit plans and exorbitant salaries. 

The study not only looked at whether pay between public and private sector employees was comparable, but it also went further by examining the impact benefits packages had in the wage gap between the two groups. 

The Boston College researchers involved in the study found that there is a healthy wage gap between public and private employees that does not get closed even when benefits are considered. Here are the study's key findings, according to the Center:

  • State and local workers have a wage penalty of 9.5 percent.
  • Pension contributions and retiree health insurance help close the gap.
  • Total compensation for public sector workers is about 4 percent less than that in the private sector.

Experts at the Center for State and Local Government Excellence say this information should be considered as government officials look for ways to cut costs and close budget shortfalls.

"As state and local governments grapple with continuing fiscal constraints, they are taking a close look at their benefits packages," wrote Elizabeth K. Kellar, president and CEO of the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, in the issue brief. "As they do so, they will want to consider the role that benefits play in meeting their human resources goals.

"Americans want smart, competent people delivering critically important public services," she continued. "As the workforce ages and hiring freezes persist, government employers will need to give greater attention to their talent needs and how they can attract and retain the people they need."

Image: PublicWorkersUnite.org

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