Designer Duds on a Government Dime?

governmentIf you think applying for a government job means you'll have to resign yourself to short-sleeve white shirts, pocket protectors and/or polyester stretch pants, think again. The numbers have just come out on what state and local governments are spending on employees, and it ain't peanuts.

Employer costs for state and local government workers are averaging about $39.83 per hour. That boils down to $26.24 for wages and salaries and $13.60 for benefits. Of that, health benefit costs averaged $4.43 per hour, and retirement and savings averaged $3.23 per hour.

Get this: State and local employers come across as being generous in comparison to private industry employers, whose total cost per employee averages about $27.49 per hour. Private contractors, who must shoulder the weight of their own benefits and retirement savings, salivate over those government numbers.

So what government positions earn these premium wages?

Surprisingly enough, professional and administrative support workers, including teachers, make up about 2/3 of the state and local government workforce. The cost per employee numbers take into consideration only the hours worked, however, and include time off for holiday breaks and summer vacations.

Taxes, of course, take a bite out of all salaries, both public and private. But still there could be enough leftover at the end of the month for government workers to indulge in the occasional gourmet or designer splurge -- even if it's at an outlet mall. All the best people are shopping there these days.

Next: Now Hiring: US Census Workers >>

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Learn more on

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