Average state employee pay in Ohio exceeds average private-sector pay by a wider margin than in many states, according to a study from conservative think tank Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW). Using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data, CAGW ranked Ohio 45th nationally based on the large gap – a weighted average of $9.89 per hour – in favor of state workers.
Media Trackers created a chart from the figures calculated by CAGW. For details about the methodology used for calculations, see the CAGW report “Public Servants or Privileged Class.”
Based on the latest available BLS data, the average hourly value of an Ohio state employee’s wages and benefits is $34.80, while the average private-sector worker receives $24.91. Weighted across all industries, this represents a 28 percent pay gap between state workers and the taxpayers who fund their compensation.
While State of Ohio employees are, in general, better compensated than private sector workers in comparable positions, disparities are not uniform across all industries. State workers who serve in human resources, information technology, or legal roles are paid an average of 27.9 percent less than private-sector workers in those industries.
According to CAGW’s analysis of BLS National Compensation Survey data, the “pay gap” between state and private industry employees in Ohio trails close behind other union strongholds such as California and Wisconsin.
The CAGW study found that while Texas state workers benefited from the largest relative premium over private-sector compensation in the state, employees of the State of California were paid the most in absolute terms.
Utah and Montana were found to have the smallest gap between state employees and the private industry workers, with state workers paid an average of $4 per hour more than comparable private-sector jobs.
The CAGW study found that state employees across the nation receive wages and benefits that average 6.2 greater than private industry workers in the same occupational categories.
Earlier research conducted by federal analysts found that after controlling for education and benefit packages, state workers received compensation averaging between 3 percent and 10 percent greater than their private industry counterparts. Local government workers benefited from an even larger gap, receiving salary and perks between 10 and 19 percent larger than private industry workers.
CAGW’s findings come roughly a year after Ohioans overturned Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) by referendum following a $40 million smear campaign waged by labor unions, whose power would have been reduced had the law remained in effect. SB 5, passed by the Ohio General Assembly in 2011, was intended in large part to help state and local government offices keep salary and benefit costs aligned with what taxpayers can afford.
To aid its assertion that government employees are underpaid and were unfairly being “attacked,” union front group We Are Ohio commissioned a study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in D.C. As The Washington Post has noted, “EPI doesn’t hide its close ties to organized labor.”
“Unions provide about a quarter of EPI’s funding, with the rest coming mostly from grants from mainstream foundations such as Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, and Anne E. Casey. Ten of the nation’s top labor leaders serve on its board and help set the research agenda,” columnist Steven Pearlstein wrote in an October 2011 story celebrating EPI’s 25-year anniversary.
Ohio media coverage of the EPI study rarely noted that EPI is left-leaning and union-funded, just as Ohio media coverage of We Are Ohio never noted that the political action committee received nearly all its funding from unions.