Public vs Private Jobs, Ctd

A reader writes:

I doubt I'm the first one to write in about this, but the database you posted here doesn't contain any data that would help meaningfully answer the question about whether government workers are overpaid. It's true that in nearly every county Federal, State, and Local workers ON AVERAGE make more than non-government employees, but we have no way to know whether these are equivalent groups of workers.

It's entirely possible that government workers appear to make more because they, disproportionately, hold jobs that require high school or college degrees (or even post-graduate degrees) while the private-sector employees disproportionally work service and manual labor jobs that require little education or training. If salary isn't broken down by profession, education level, etc., then comparing public to private workers is comparing apples to oranges. It doesn't tell you anything to know (in a county where, for example, the biggest government employers are a VA and the public school system) that a pool of doctors, teachers, and clerks makes more than a pool of mostly small business owners, service workers, and agricultural laborers. What you need to know instead is whether a doctor or teacher or secretary would make more working inside the government or outside of it.