Pay Gap in Idaho Wide From Public to Private Sector

By Tom Bacon

In terms of pay, jobseekers in Washington and Oregon, trying to decide between public or private sector jobs, can flip a coin. There's not much difference, on average, between the two sectors. But in neighboring Idaho, workers employed by the state make significantly more money than their peers in the private sector.

The typical state worker in Idaho made $40,716 last year, roughly $5,000 dollars more than the average worker employed in the private sector in Idaho. Private wages were virtually flat from 2007 through 2009. held down by the anemic economy, but have been rising steadily since then.

Still, Idaho workers in both public and private jobs make substantially less yearly than their counterparts in Washington and Oregon. The average state worker in Washington makes $51,733, only about $40 less than workers drawing private industry paychecks. And in Oregon the balance is roughly the same. An Oregon state worker last year made $43,810, just about $120 more than someone in the private sector on average.

The information comes from a new survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report noted that, nationally, the average state employee is better educated than the average private sector employee.
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