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California State Workers Not Overpaid: Study

State workers in California have taken heat from taxpayers who work in the private sector: You make too much, your benefits are too generous, you're bankrupting the state.

AP

But perception may not match reality, according to a study by the University of California Berkeley's Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics.

"California public employees, both state and local, are not overpaid," the report states. Based on its research, state workers make about seven percent less in wages than private sector counterparts, but their benefits are better, so there is "no significant difference" between the two.

This is the first study taking into account both wages and benefits in "an apples to apples comparison."

Other findings include research showing that California state workers are better educated than those working for private employers. In addition, public employees with college degrees make less than private sector counterparts, while those with a high school education make more.

Perhaps surprisingly, the study claims state workers in California work more hours on average than private sector workers annually, "making them unique among public sector workers throughout the country." Those numbers are based on pre-furlough figures.

While pay may be lower, benefits are better. Here's a telling comparison of contributions between the two sectors:

Contribution to Benefits

Public Employers 36%
Private Employers 30%
Source: UC Berkeley Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics

Contribution to Insurance

Public Employers 12%
Private Employers 8%
Source: UC Berkeley Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics

Contribution to Retirement

Public Employers 8%
Private Employers 4%
Source: UC Berkeley Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics

Total Annual Compensation With High School Education

Public Sector $54,000
Private Sector $51,000
Source: UC Berkeley Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics

Total Annual Compensation With Bachelor's Degree

Public Sector $84,000
Private Sector $89,000
Source: UC Berkeley Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics

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