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Fed ‘Workers’ Earn Double Private Sector

From USA Today:

Federal workers earning double their private counterparts

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
August 10, 2010

At a time when workers’ pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Federal workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row. The compensation gap between federal and private workers has doubled in the past decade.

Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available.

The federal compensation advantage has grown from $30,415 in 2000 to $61,998 last year.

Public employee unions say the compensation gap reflects the increasingly high level of skill and education required for most federal jobs and the government contracting out lower-paid jobs to the private sector in recent years

Last week, President Obama ordered a freeze on bonuses for 2,900 political appointees.

Yes, he has frozen in these outrageously high salaries and benefits packages.

For the rest of the 2-million-person federal workforce, Obama asked for a 1.4% across-the-board pay hike in 2011, the smallest in more than a decade. Federal workers also would qualify for seniority pay hikes.

Congressional Republicans want to cancel the across-the-board increase in 2011, which would save $2.2 billion

Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., says a pay freeze would unfairly scapegoat federal workers without addressing real budget problems.

What the data show:

Benefits. Federal workers received average benefits worth $41,791 in 2009. Most of this was the government’s contribution to pensions. Employees contributed an additional $10,569.

Pay. The average federal salary has grown 33% faster than inflation since 2000. USA TODAY reported in March that the federal government pays an average of 20% more than private firms for comparable occupations. The analysis did not consider differences in experience and education.

Total compensation. Federal compensation has grown 36.9% since 2000 after adjusting for inflation, compared with 8.8% for private workers.

And to add insult to injury, we have these tidings from the Wall Street Journal:

Incomes Fall in Most Metro Areas

August 9, 2010

Personal incomes fell across the U.S. last year except in areas with a high concentration of federal government and military jobs, the Commerce Department said Monday. They declined most in places with a lot of housing and finance jobs.

Among the 52 metro areas with populations of more than one million, in only three did both net earnings and the broader measure of personal income both rise.

All three had strong ties to the federal government: the Washington, D.C., area and two areas with a large military presence, San Antonio and Virginia Beach, Va. In all three, the biggest gains were among workers in the federal government and the military; private sector compensation fell.

The same picture was reflected nationally, as private employers froze and in many cases reduced workers’ pay and hours.

The only other big metro areas with rising personal incomes—Baltimore and Pittsburgh—had falling net earnings but a sharp increase in government checks, such as unemployment benefits

And Baltimore, being less than 30 miles from DC, should also qualify as having close ties to the federal government.

The new data offer the most detailed, ground-level look at the impact of federal government employment and spending last year, highlighting those parts of the country that have received the most benefits and those that have been hit hardest by the drop in private employment. The support of government was reflected nationally last year, with private wages falling 6% in 2009 as government pay rose 2.6%

Among the 134 metro areas that saw personal incomes rise, most of the gains were from big jumps in transfer payments, the Commerce Department said. In the 57 places where earnings increased, many are home to soldiers whose wages are unaffected by the economy…

Oh, yes. Those “transfer payments” to the military are what are causing the big gains in these areas.

After all, what other transfer payments are there?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Fed ‘Workers’ Earn Double Private Sector”

  1. proreason says:

    the compensation gap reflects the increasingly high level of skill and education required for most federal jobs

    An exceedingly strange assertion.

    Aside from the military, there are a limited number of federal job types, and there is probably only one that requires any special expertise at all:
    – Postal workers (a huge % of the total). God bless em, but the skill required is hardly extreme.
    – Counting things. This probably represents the bulk of the rest. Note that computers do the actual counting.
    – “Regulating”. Or in other words, seeing that the laws are followed. Skill required….reading.
    – “Support activities”. IT, facility managerment, HR, etc. No different than civilian work, except there is no pressure, no threat of layoffs, no oversight, and it doesn’t matter if you know what you are doing or not
    – “Help desks”. Have you called a government help desk lately?
    – Law enforcement. Certainly honorable and worthy, but are the requirements for the feds any greater than for states and municipalities. Particularly since the current regime doesn’t really seem to enforce anything.

    The one job type that does seem to require special expertise is national security analysis. But the key word is “require”. It is pretty obvious that we don’t have many people who meet the requirement.

  2. NoNeoCommies says:

    The civil service has a provision for aligning wages and salaries when someone relocates to am area with a lower cost of living.
    They freeze any pay increase until parity is achieved.

    Take one of those new (unneeded) agencies created by Omama and have them calculate parity and begin the alignment process.

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