October 02, 2001
The average annual pay level for the private sector was $35,305 in 2000, compared with $35,245 in the public sector, which includes federal, state, and local government establishments.
This was the first year since BLS began publishing these figures in 1982 that average private pay exceeded the average pay level of government workers.
Private sector pay was 2 percent lower than public sector pay in 1999, 4 percent lower in 1998, 6 percent lower in 1997, and 10 percent lower in 1994.
Pay differentials between the public and private sectors reflect many variables, including work activity and occupational structure.
The BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program produced these data. Pay data presented here are for all workers covered by State and Federal unemployment insurance programs. Data for 2000 are preliminary and subject to revision. Find more information on pay in 2000 in "Average Annual Pay By State and Industry, 2000," news release USDL 01-295.