Monday, March 7, 2011
Wisconsin teachers losing ground to private sector...
New research by a University of Illinois expert in employment relations and labor economics shows that, for more than a decade, Wisconsin teacher salaries have fallen behind changes in the cost of living as well as wage growth in the private sector.
Craig A. Olson, a professor of labor and employment relations, says the salaries of Wisconsin teachers have lost ground to those of their private sector counterparts over the last 16 years.
The paper compares the earnings of an average college graduate employed in the private sector in the U.S. versus the earnings of an average college-educated teacher in Wisconsin through public data from 1995 to the present.
Olson's analysis shows that, after accounting for inflation, the average private sector college graduate saw weekly earnings increase by 10 percent from 1995 to 2009. By contrast, the average teacher in Wisconsin saw salary decline by 10 percent, not counting fringe benefits.
"Not only did Wisconsin teachers not keep up with inflation, their earning power also fell behind their private-sector counterparts," Olson said.
In 1995, the average college educated private sector worker in the U.S. earned 17 percent more than a Wisconsin teacher; in 2009, this gap had increased to 36 percent, according to Olson's research.
Olson's research also discovered that while the salaries of public sector workers have not risen dramatically, expenditures on their benefits, especially health insurance benefits, have increased. In Illinois, the average inflation-adjusted premium for a family health insurance policy for Illinois teachers increased from $5,758 to $10,905 from 1993 to 2008.
Not surprisingly, health insurance premium costs for the private sector also have risen sharply during that time, increasing from $5,742 in 1999 to $13,770 in 2010, adjusted to 2009 prices.