October 19, 1999
According to a new BLS survey program, average hourly earnings of State and local government workers were $17.82 in 1997, about 24 percent higher than the average of $14.39 for the private industry workers covered by the survey.
Differences between earnings in private industry and State and local government varied by occupational group. Among executive, administrative, and managerial workers, those in private industry earned more than the government employees ($27.86 per hour versus $23.95). Hourly wages of administrative support employees were about the same in private industry—$11.54—as in State and local government—$11.50.
Workers in service occupations earned much more in State and local government than in private industry. Service workers in State and local government averaged $13.26 per hour, well above the $7.51 average in private industry.
A wide variety of additional information is available from the new National Compensation Survey program. For example, wages for a specific occupation such as mechanical engineer are published separately when publication criteria are met.
These data on earnings are a product of the National Compensation Survey program, which conducts establishment-based surveys. Note that the 1997 NCS covered establishments with 50 or more employees. An overview of the initial NCS results for the nation is in "National Compensation Survey Produces First Nationwide Results" (PDF 56K), by John Buckley, Compensation and Working Conditions, Fall 1999. Additional information can be found in National Compensation Survey: Occupational Wages in the United States, 1997, BLS Bulletin 2519 (PDF 922 K). Reports on earnings in individual areasof the country can also be obtained.