State Workers: Overpaid, Underpaid, Or Just Right?

Citizens Against Government Waste

Public and private workers in New Hampshire are among the most evenly compensated, finds a new report from the right-leaning Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW). Still, the report shows, the New Hampshire’s public sector pays on average, $4.51 more, per hour, than the private sector. The report states that “State governments pay on average 6.2 percent more per hour in wages and benefits, including pension benefits, than the private sector for the 22 major occupational categories that exist in both sectors.”

CAGW ranked Texas and California as states with the largest differences in compensation, favoring public workers, while Utah and Montana boasted the least disparity.

However, two years ago, the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute published research arguing exactly the opposite. It argues that public sector workers earn between 11 and 12 percent less than private sector workers.

Why are their numbers different?

The Economic Policy Institute says “claims that state and local workers make exorbitant wages and compensation almost always fail to consider the occupation or education levels of the workers being compared. Studies which make an apple-to-apple comparison (controlling for education and other worker characteristics) show that state and local workers are not overpaid.”

It’s interesting to note that the Economic Policy Institute’s data show that the Public sector pays more than the private sector for employees with up to an Associate’s degree in educational attainment. For those with a bachelor’s degree or more education, the private sector pays more.


  • I would like to say that one of the reasons that public employees appear to be doing better in pay and BENEFITS than private sector is because the private sector has begun lowering their benefits. Many private sector jobs do not even offer any type of retirement option. This is one of the reasons that people take a secure job in the public sector.

  • Mr. T

    Some California state workers are very low paid i.e. less then $30,000, but then some of them are paid very well i.e. $120,000+. It all dependends if you are staff or management.

  • BlueAngel124

    What really bothers me is critics always focus on the highest paid and claim everyone is paid over $67,000 a year. This lie started with the Sacramento Bee and was repeated by steroid brain dead Arnold Schwarzenegger. The average wage is a false amount which lumps the highest paid state workers with the lowest paid thereby the misconception of Cadillac pensions and overpaid workers. Saying the truth does not fit the haters agenda.

    • ☢ Heisenberg ☢

      I see you found a new place to hang out and spew your garbage.

  • Darkforceb

    Do You see the F under the California state, that means Fail, the legislature, the governor and the senate, do not compensate thier employees well, only a minute .03% of the state workforce make over 100K a year, yet when it comes to lying to the public, those are the slaries they use for thier figures. I for one have workd 20 years been promoted 3 times and still make less then 50K a year, welcome to reality. It is not because I am a bad worker it is that opportunity is rare and if and when it comes around there is 40 applicants who are college grads waiting at the door. You need to be able to have a manager that likes you to get anywhere , and there are tons of bad managers in the state that need to be trimmed, that is where the fat and waste is. If your manager likes you you might get another promotion, in a few years, once a list comes out, the personenel office decides to do thier job to hire, and there is no hiring freeze.
    You pathetic private industry haters have no clue how hard it is to get ahead here, then you all want to support cutting our retirments on top of it. I tell you what If I retire and suffer I will be robbing your stores and killing you people for food….
    WHy not I have niothing to lose, since you are going to back me ointo a corner of poverty…and rather lose my house I will take some of you out with me.

  • Bob_Robert

    Collective bargaining of taxpayer-funded jobs is a recipe for disaster. The state does not have to compete, or show a profit, or be efficient at all. Any shortfalls are paid for by taxpayers, who have no where else to go. The ultimate monopoly, destructive in all the ways we’re constantly told business monopolies would be.

    Why put up with that abuse from govt? Any politician who doesn’t vote to abolish departments, lower or abolish taxes, cut regulations and cut spending does not deserve to get re-elected. All they’re doing is serving their own ends when they take money from others at gun point.

  • They aren’t comparing apples to apples. Their study is actually meaningless. Other studies that actually compare apples to apples show that consistently public sector union workers are getting paid more than their private sector counterparts. Facts are an amazing thing. So is valid research.

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