The Two Americas: Private vs. Public Workers
According to this report from the BLS released yesterday, state and local governments spent an average of $39.81 per hour in March 2010 to compensate public-sector employees ($26.25 in wages and $13.56 for benefits). Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $27.73 per hour ($19.58 for wages and $8.15 for benefits), see chart above.
Bottom Line: Government employees are compensated 44% more on average per hour than private-sector employees, with 34.1% higher monetary wages and 66.4% more in benefits. On an annual basis, government workers make almost $80,000 on average with benefits (assuming a 40-hour week for 50 weeks), $24,000 more per year thatn the average private-sector worker ($55,460 annual compensation).
And one of the biggest differences between private and public employees is the "retirement" portion of benefits. Government workers are paid $3.16 in retirement benefits for each hour worked, and almost 90% of these retirement benefits are in the form of "defined benefits" and the other 10% are for "defined contribution." In contrast, private sector employees receive only $0.96 in retirement benefits for each hour worked, and more than 57% of this coverage is for "defined contribution" and less than 43% for "defined benefits."
The fact that retirement benefits for public workers are more than three times as generous as those paid to private sector workers, and the fact that almost all pension programs for government workers are "defined benefits," helps explains why the fastest growing group of millionaires is..... government workers.