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Best and worst paying states for public employees

  • Best and worst paying states for public employees
    1/ Matt Wade Photography // Wikicommons

    Best and worst paying states for public employees

    Love it or hate it, the United States government is a major player in our economy. With 2.7 million employees on its payroll, the U.S. federal government is the single largest employer in the world while over 20 million people, or about 11 percent of the total labor force, are employed by the public sector at the local, state, or federal levels.

    Using the 2016 Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll, we discovered which states had the best- and worst-paid state and local government employees (federal employees were not surveyed). The survey provides the total amount of money paid out to public employees in March 2016. Dividing the total March Payroll by the number of full-time public employees yields the average monthly salary.

    For each state, we've included the industries within state and local employment that rank best and worst for monthly pay. The education sector revealed a disparity: higher education came in highest across 36 states while elementary and secondary school employees were the worst paid in forty-one states.

    We begin our list with the states with the lowest average monthly salary for public employees and work our way to the state where state and local employees receive the highest pay.

  • #51. Mississippi
    2/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #51. Mississippi

    Monthly average salary for all Mississippi state and local employees: $3,489

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $5,256

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,026

  • #50. Arkansas
    3/ jglazer75 // Wikicommons

    #50. Arkansas

    Monthly average salary for all Arkansas state and local employees: $3,561

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,512

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,104

  • #49. West Virginia
    4/ David Wilson (davidwilson1949) // Wikicommons

    #49. West Virginia

    Monthly average salary for all West Virginia state and local employees: $3,603

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $6,432

    Lowest paid industry: Parks and Recreation with an average monthly salary of $2,556

  • #48. Oklahoma
    5/ James Johnson // Wikicommons

    #48. Oklahoma

    Monthly average salary for all Oklahoma state and local employees: $3,649

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,176

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,272

  • #47. Missouri
    6/ RebelAt // Wikicommons

    #47. Missouri

    Monthly average salary for all Missouri state and local employees: $3,746

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $6,796

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,394

  • #46. Kentucky
    7/ Acdixon // Wikicommons

    #46. Kentucky

    Monthly average salary for all Kentucky state and local employees: $3,810

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,369

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,076

  • #45. Tennessee
    8/ Brent Moore // Flickr

    #45. Tennessee

    Monthly average salary for all Tennessee state and local employees: $3,828

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $6,628

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,351

  • #44. South Dakota
    9/ Jim Bowen // Flickr

    #44. South Dakota

    Monthly average salary for all South Dakota state and local employees: $3,850

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $6,392

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,545

  • #43. Louisiana
    10/ Jim Plylar // Wikicommons

    #43. Louisiana

    Monthly average salary for all Louisiana state and local employees: $3,857

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,265

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,031

  • #42. Georgia
    11/ DXR // Wikicommons

    #42. Georgia

    Monthly average salary for all Georgia state and local employees: $3,862

    Highest paid industry: Water Transport and Terminals with an average monthly salary of $7,276

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,393

  • #41. Alabama
    12/ Chris Pruitt // Wikicommons

    #41. Alabama

    Monthly average salary for all Alabama state and local employees: $3,897

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,570

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,006

  • #40. South Carolina
    13/ Florencebballer // Wikicommons

    #40. South Carolina

    Monthly average salary for all South Carolina state and local employees: $3,917

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,233

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,524

  • #39. Kansas
    14/ Aviper2k7 // Wikicommons

    #39. Kansas

    Monthly average salary for all Kansas state and local employees: $3,951

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $6,862

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,439

  • #38. Indiana
    15/ Jasont82 // Wikicommons

    #38. Indiana

    Monthly average salary for all Indiana state and local employees: $3,991

    Highest paid industry: Gas Supply with an average monthly salary of $6,182

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,737

  • #37. Idaho
    16/ JSquish // Wikicommons

    #37. Idaho

    Monthly average salary for all Idaho state and local employees: $4,019

    Highest paid industry: Education - Other with an average monthly salary of $6,412

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,119

  • #36. Maine
    17/ Albany NY // Wikicommons

    #36. Maine

    Monthly average salary for all Maine state and local employees: $4,058

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $6,174

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,971

  • #35. New Mexico
    18/ N salazar // Wikicommons

    #35. New Mexico

    Monthly average salary for all New Mexico state and local employees: $4,108

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,536

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,596

  • #34. North Carolina
    19/ W Edward Callis III // Wikicommons

    #34. North Carolina

    Monthly average salary for all North Carolina state and local employees: $4,151

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,100

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,449

  • #33. Montana
    20/ Martin Kraft // Wikicommons

    #33. Montana

    Monthly average salary for all Montana state and local employees: $4,202

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $6,872

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,750

  • #32. Florida
    21/ Michael Rivera // Wikicommons

    #32. Florida

    Monthly average salary for all Florida state and local employees: $4,249

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $9,190

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,825

  • #31. Texas
    22/ Kumar Appaiah // Wikicommons

    #31. Texas

    Monthly average salary for all Texas state and local employees: $4,252

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $9,187

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,639

  • #30. Nebraska
    23/ Carol M. Highsmith

    #30. Nebraska

    Monthly average salary for all Nebraska state and local employees: $4,418

    Highest paid industry: Electric Power with an average monthly salary of $7,638

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,887

  • #29. Virginia
    24/ Skip Plitt - C'ville Photography // Wikicommons

    #29. Virginia

    Monthly average salary for all Virginia state and local employees: $4,526

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,091

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,785

  • #28. North Dakota
    25/ W Edward Callis III // Wikicommons

    #28. North Dakota

    Monthly average salary for all North Dakota state and local employees: $4,532

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,579

    Lowest paid industry: Hospitals with an average monthly salary of $3,003

  • #27. Arizona
    26/ Wikicommons

    #27. Arizona

    Monthly average salary for all Arizona state and local employees: $4,536

    Highest paid industry: Electric Power with an average monthly salary of $8,679

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,614

  • #26. Ohio
    27/ Alexander Smith // Wikicommons

    #26. Ohio

    Monthly average salary for all Ohio state and local employees: $4,537

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,636

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $2,848

  • #25. Utah
    28/ Robert Cutts // Wikicommons

    #25. Utah

    Monthly average salary for all Utah state and local employees: $4,542

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $9,434

    Lowest paid industry: State liquor stores with an average monthly salary of $2,627

  • #24. Vermont
    29/ Petr Kratochvil // PublicDomainPictures.net

    #24. Vermont

    Monthly average salary for all Vermont state and local employees: $4,552

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,787

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,412

  • #23. New Hampshire
    30/ AlexiusHoratius // Wikicommons

    #23. New Hampshire

    Monthly average salary for all New Hampshire state and local employees: $4,641

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,241

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,307

  • #22. Wyoming
    31/ Postdlf // Wikicommons

    #22. Wyoming

    Monthly average salary for all Wyoming state and local employees: $4,679

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $6,304

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,114

  • #21. Wisconsin
    32/ MuZemike // Wikicommons

    #21. Wisconsin

    Monthly average salary for all Wisconsin state and local employees: $4,789

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,202

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,305

  • #20. Delaware
    33/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #20. Delaware

    Monthly average salary for all Delaware state and local employees: $4,802

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,496

    Lowest paid industry: Parks and Recreation with an average monthly salary of $3,113

  • #19. Iowa
    34/ Stephen Matthew Milligan // Wikicommons

    #19. Iowa

    Monthly average salary for all Iowa state and local employees: $4,856

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,934

    Lowest paid industry: Water Transport and Terminals with an average monthly salary of $275

  • #18. Hawaii
    35/ Cliff // Wikicommons

    #18. Hawaii

    Monthly average salary for all Hawaii state and local employees: $4,894

    Highest paid industry: Police Protection - Persons with Power of Arrest with an average monthly salary of $7,854

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,430

  • #17. Pennsylvania
    36/ Ad Meskens // Wikicommons

    #17. Pennsylvania

    Monthly average salary for all Pennsylvania state and local employees: $4,965

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,526

    Lowest paid industry: State liquor stores with an average monthly salary of $3,562

  • #16. Colorado
    37/ Knapp.keith // Wikicommons

    #16. Colorado

    Monthly average salary for all Colorado state and local employees: $5,004

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $9,076

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,162

  • #15. Michigan
    38/ Wikicommons

    #15. Michigan

    Monthly average salary for all Michigan state and local employees: $5,064

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $9,347

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,155

  • #14. Oregon
    39/ M.O. Stevens // Wikicommons

    #14. Oregon

    Monthly average salary for all Oregon state and local employees: $5,091

    Highest paid industry: Fire Protection - Firefighters with an average monthly salary of $8,060

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,412

  • #13. Minnesota
    40/ McGhiever // Wikicommons

    #13. Minnesota

    Monthly average salary for all Minnesota state and local employees: $5,136

    Highest paid industry: Water Transport and Terminals with an average monthly salary of $7,738

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,392

  • #12. Nevada
    41/ ok-59 // Flickr

    #12. Nevada

    Monthly average salary for all Nevada state and local employees: $5,313

    Highest paid industry: Fire Protection - Firefighters with an average monthly salary of $9,217

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,756

  • #11. Illinois
    42/ Jon Platek // Wkicommons

    #11. Illinois

    Monthly average salary for all Illinois state and local employees: $5,344

    Highest paid industry: Fire Protection - Other with an average monthly salary of $8,342

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,432

  • #10. Maryland
    43/ K Whiteford // PublicDomainPictures.net

    #10. Maryland

    Monthly average salary for all Maryland state and local employees: $5,432

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $7,663

    Lowest paid industry: Solid Waste Management with an average monthly salary of $3,812

  • #9. Massachusetts
    44/ Marco Almbauer // Wikicommons

    #9. Massachusetts

    Monthly average salary for all Massachusetts state and local employees: $5,521

    Highest paid industry: Police Protection - Persons with Power of Arrest with an average monthly salary of $8,246

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,763

  • #8. Rhode Island
    45/ chensiyuan // Wikicommons

    #8. Rhode Island

    Monthly average salary for all Rhode Island state and local employees: $5,601

    Highest paid industry: Corrections with an average monthly salary of $7,101

    Lowest paid industry: Water Transport and Terminals with an average monthly salary of $3,091

  • #7. Alaska
    46/ Jay Galvin // Wikicommons

    #7. Alaska

    Monthly average salary for all Alaska state and local employees: $5,689

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,780

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,600

  • #6. Connecticut
    47/ Wikicommons

    #6. Connecticut

    Monthly average salary for all Connecticut state and local employees: $5,736

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $8,836

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,923

  • #5. Washington
    48/ Cacophony // Wikicommons

    #5. Washington

    Monthly average salary for all Washington state and local employees: $5,908

    Highest paid industry: Fire Protection - Firefighters with an average monthly salary of $8,744

    Lowest paid industry: Public Welfare with an average monthly salary of $4,666

  • #4. New York
    49/ Matt Wade Photography // Wikicommons

    #4. New York

    Monthly average salary for all New York state and local employees: $6,035

    Highest paid industry: Electric Power with an average monthly salary of $8,117

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $3,758

  • #3. New Jersey
    50/ Smallbones // Wikicommons

    #3. New Jersey

    Monthly average salary for all New Jersey state and local employees: $6,135

    Highest paid industry: Education - Higher Education Instructional with an average monthly salary of $10,491

    Lowest paid industry: Air Transportation with an average monthly salary of $3,865

  • #2. California
    51/ Henri Sivonen // Wikicommons

    #2. California

    Monthly average salary for all California state and local employees: $6,697

    Highest paid industry: Fire Protection - Firefighters with an average monthly salary of $10,853

    Lowest paid industry: Education - Elementary and Secondary Other with an average monthly salary of $4,138

  • #1. District of Columbia
    52/ Diego Delso // Wikicommons

    #1. District of Columbia

    Monthly average salary for all District of Columbia state and local employees: $7,053

    Highest paid industry: Financial Administration with an average monthly salary of $8,276

    Lowest paid industry: Solid Waste Management with an average monthly salary of $5,151

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