Public Employees Are Compensated Better Than Private-Sector Workers

USA Today has a story today about how public employees are much better compensated than people in the private sector, with an average compensation of $40 per hour compared to $26 per hour.

It’s not so much their salaries that account for this, as their generous pensions and other benefits. As Americans live longer, their pension benefits can approach their salaries in value.

Some uninformed people claim that public employees are underpaid because they don’t benefit from “corporate profit and private wealth,” like this letter writer who believes that teachers can’t live on less than $100,000 per year.

But the reality is that even in wealthy, high-living cost areas, public employees’ overall compensation packages are better than most of their private-sector counterparts.

In wealthy Arlington County, Virginia, for example, the average person employed in the County makes about $75,000 per year, a little higher than the $71,148 received by the average teacher. But the teachers have much better benefits, valued at $27,636 for a teacher making $60,000 per year in salary. So even in wealthy areas, public employees are compensated better than the average private sector employee.