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 51 percent in 1990, to 68 percent in 2000, to 100 percent today.
If that is true, and I see no reason to doubt the numbers, why do I always hear about how crappy public sector pay is? The benefits are (supposedly) great, but the pay sucks. Is that an urban myth? Does it depend on job function? Or are political jobs so overpaid that it skews the overall outlook?