Public/Private Sector Compensation Bakeoff (NYT ‘Dunno’ Edition)

More grist for the salary mill, via Saturday’s New York Times:

In Battle Over State Payrolls, Data Show a Mixed Picture

The janitors who buff floors and empty wastebaskets for the State of California earn a median wage of a little over $31,000 a year, which is 45 percent more than janitors in the private sector earn there. Georgia’s janitors, by contrast, earn less than $21,000, about 6 percent below their private sector counterparts.

And in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker’s face-off with unions has thrust public sector compensation into the national spotlight, the state pays janitors a median wage of nearly $27,000, about the same as they would make in the private sector.

The key, according to the Times, is education:

The clearest pattern to emerge is an educational divide: workers without college degrees tend to do better on state payrolls, while workers with college degrees tend to do worse. That divide has grown more pronounced in recent decades. Since 1990, the median wage of state workers without college degrees has come to surpass that of workers in the private sector. During the same period, though, college-educated state workers have seen their median pay lag further behind their peers in the private sector.

Then again, the NYT’s conclusion is, who knows?

The Many Variables Make It Difficult to Answer A Question at the Heart of Budget Skirmishes

As Harry S Truman might say, give me a one-handed New York Times.

Or is that too simple-minded?

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