New data was released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on federal employee wages and benefits. The data for 2005 shows that compensation for the average federal civilian worker ($106,579) is now exactly double the average compensation in the U.S. private sector ($53,289).
(See Tables 6.2D, 6.5D, and 6.6D here, www.bea.gov/bea/dn/nipaweb/index.asp).
The federal pay advantage has been soaring in recent years. The ratio of average federal to average private compensation increased from 1.51 in 1990, to 1.68 in 2000, to 2.00 today.
Both federal wages and benefits have been galloping ahead. The new data shows that the average federal civilian worker earned $71,114 in wages in 2005, compared to an average $43,917 in the private sector.
I discussed the federal pay advantage based on data for 2004 in a recent bulletin. I thought that new data for 2005 would show the federal advantage narrowing due to strong private sector growth. Instead, the federal advantage increased once again. Average federal wages rose 5.8 percent in 2005 compared to an increase of 3.3 percent in the private sector.
See the full details in a summary spreadsheet here [.xls].