Hannity Falsely Claims Ohio Public Workers Earn More Than Private Sector Counterparts


Sean Hannity falsely claimed that public workers in Ohio earn more than private sector workers, parroting a discredited USA Today analysis. In fact, the Economic Policy Institute found that compensation for Ohio public employees is "slightly less than what they would receive in the private sector" after controlling for factors such as education and experience.

Hannity: OH Public Employees Earn More Than Private Employees

Hannity: "Public Workers" In Ohio "Make More Money On Average Than Those In The Private Sector." During the March 1 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said, "[A]ccording to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Ohio is one of 41 states, including Wisconsin, where public workers make more money on average than those in the private sector." [Fox News, Hannity, 3/01/11]

Hannity's Claim Echoes Discredited USA Today Analysis

USA Today: BEA Data Shows That "Wisconsin Is One Of 41 States Where Public Employees Earn Higher Average Pay And Benefits Than Private Workers." On March 1, USA Today reported its analysis of the differences in compensation between public and private workers state-by-state, based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis:

Wisconsin is one of 41 states where public employees earn higher average pay and benefits than private workers in the same state, a USA TODAY analysis finds. Still, the compensation of Wisconsin's government workers ranks below the national average for non-federal public employees and has increased only slightly since 2000.


The analysis included full and part-time workers and did not adjust for specific jobs, age, education or experience. In an earlier job-to-job comparison, USA TODAY found that state and local government workers make about the same salary as those in the private sector but get more generous benefits. [USA Today, 3/01/11]

EPI's Keefe: USA Today Analysis Is "Misleading." The USA Today article included criticism of its analysis from economist Jeffrey Keefe of the Economic Policy Institute:

Economist Jeffrey Keefe of the liberal Economic Policy Institute says the analysis is misleading because it doesn't reflect factors such as education that result in higher pay for public employees. [USA Today, 3/01/11]

CEPR's Baker: USA Today Analysis Did Not Account For "Education, Experience Or Other Factors That Typically Affect Pay." Economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research said of the USA Today study:

USA Today ran an article highlighting a difference in pay between government workers and private sector workers in Wisconsin and 40 other states. The methodology used in the article simply takes average compensation per worker without adjusting for their education, experience or other factors that typically affect pay. (Most people expect a cardiologist with 25 years of experience to earn more than a 20-year old counter person at McDonalds.)


Analyses that do control for education, experience and other factors in ways that are standard within economics consistently find that public sector workers receive somewhat lower compensation than comparable workers in the private sector. [CEPR's Beat the Press, 3/01/11]

EPI: OH Public Workers Earn Less Than Private Sector Workers

EPI's Keefe: Public Employees In Ohio "Earn Lower Wages Than Comparable Private Sector Employees." Economist Jeffrey Keefe of the Economic Policy Institute wrote:

The research shows, however, that state and local government employees in Ohio are not overpaid. (When we refer to public employees, we are referring to state and local employees, not federal workers.) Comparisons controlling for education, experience, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship, and disability reveal that employees of state and local governments earn lower wages than comparable private sector employees. Average annual wages and salaries of full-time state and local public employees in Ohio are 5.9% lower than those of comparable private sector employees. However, some full-time public employees work fewer hours on average, particularly college-educated employees. When annual hours worked are factored in, full-time state and local employees earn 3.3% less in wages and salaries than similar private sector workers. Looking at total compensation (wages and nonwage benefits) Ohio public employees annually earn 6% less than comparable private sector employees and 3.5% less on an hourly basis than comparable private sector employees. [Economic Policy Institute, 2/10/11]

Jeffrey Keefe's report included the following chart:


[Economic Policy Institute, 2/10/11]

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment, Labor Unions
Fox News Channel
Sean Hannity
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