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Best and worst paying states for public employees

  • 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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