(Mike Chamberlain/The Cranky Hermit) – At least when it comes to public employees. As employment and pay in the private sector plummeted in the last few years, even the highest-paid public employees in Southern Nevada received nearly double-digit (and higher) pay increases.
City of Las Vegas employees in a random sample of the highest-compensated workers received increases in total pay (excluding benefits) averaging 22.8% from 2007-2009. Total pay for workers in a similar survey for Clark County increased 9.8% over the same period of time. (Data was taken from Transparent Nevada’s database of public employee salaries.)
The highest-compensated employees were defined as those whose total compensation (including benefits) totaled $100,000 or more in 2009. There were 1,827 such employees in the City of Las Vegas (or 16.6% of the total number of people appearing in the Transparent Nevada database for the City in 2009). Clark County had 2,482 such employees (or 21.4% of those in the 2009 database for the County).
Total pay for workers in the City of Las Vegas sample increased from an average of $89,436.33 in 2007 to 109,806.96 in 2009, while County workers in the sample received an average of $105,737.39 in 2007 increasing to $116,083.32 in 2009. Neither the City nor the County supplied benefit data for 2007 for the database.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average pay declined 0.86% for workers in the private sector in Clark County during this same period. In addition, BLS reports that total employment in the state of Nevada dropped from a seasonally-adjusted high of 1,297,100 in February 2007 to 1,123,400 in December 2009.
While those in the private sector lucky enough to keep their jobs were suffering pay cuts, even the most highly-paid workers in the public sector were getting raises.
Notes: Seventeen employees who held the same full-time position for the 2007-2009 period were used for the City of Las Vegas sample, while 15 workers who held the same full-time position for the period were used in the Clark County sample. Total pay was used for comparison purposes because, as noted above, neither the County nor the City supplied benefit data for the first year. Raw data used in the surveys and the BLS pay data are available upon request. Technical issues prevented them from being posted with original publication.