66% Say Private Sector Employees Work Harder Than Government Workers

66% Say Private Sector Employees Work Harder Than Government Workers


Most Americans still believe government workers work less and make more money than those employed by private companies. Yet while the majority also thinks government workers enjoy more job security, they’re less convinced of that than they were a year ago.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that only 11% of Adults think those employed by the government work harder than workers in the private sector. Sixty-six percent (66%) say those employed by private companies work harder. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Still, that’s a little less negative view of the government work force than Americans have expressed in the past. Seventy-one percent (71%) felt those in the private sector work harder in December 2009.

Fifty-two percent (52%) now think the average government worker earns more annually than the average private sector employee, down from a high of 61% last April. Twenty-six percent (26%) disagree and say government workers do not earn more, while 22% are not sure.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans also believe that government workers have more job security than those employed in the private sector, a number that’s been trending down from 77% in surveys since April 2010. Fifteen percent (15%) say government workers have less job security, and 14% say the level of job security is about the same.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on June 1-2, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Fifty percent (50%) of government workers agree with 71% of those employed by a private company that the latter work harder. But while 57% of those who work in the private sector think government employees earn more than they do, government workers are narrowly divided on the question.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of private company workers feel government employees have more job security, too. Sixty percent (60%) of government workers share that view.

Investors believe more strongly than non-investors that government workers don’t work as hard and have more job security. Just over half of both groups agree that government workers are paid more.

Sizable majorities of Republicans and adults not affiliated with either major party think government workers are better off than private sector employees in all three areas. Just over half of Democrats agree that government workers have more job security and don’t work as hard, but they’re closely divided over whether there is a pay difference between the two groups.

Most voters continue to feel that tax cuts and decreases in government spending help the U.S. economy. Only 25% of voters prefer a government with more services and higher taxes over one with fewer services and lower taxes.

The government released a report on Friday showing surprisingly little job creation in May and an increase in the unemployment rate. Nearly one-out-of-three Americans (31%) predict that the unemployment rate will be even higher a year from now. Thirty-four percent (34%) believe it is good for the economy if the government hires more people. But 40% think more government hiring is a bad economic move, while 15% say it has no impact.

The Rasmussen Employment Index, which measures workers’ perceptions of the labor market each month, increased in April and May, with confidence back to its level at the beginning of the year. Still, 19% of working Americans report that their firms are hiring, while 23% say their firms are laying workers off. It has been nearly three years since the number reporting that their firms are hiring has topped the number reporting layoffs.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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