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The Average Federal Employee Is Compensated $123,160

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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The average federal employee compensation is $123,160 per year, according to a new study by the Cato Institute.

The study shows two major trends: the first being that there is a staggering differential in federal pay and benefits packages and private sector pay and benefits packages; the second being that the differential between these two groups is now growing even larger. It uses Bureau of Economic Analysis data to reach its conclusions.

Currently, the federal government employs around 2.4 million Americans. Since the 1990s, federal employees have outstripped private sector growth rates in compensation and benefits packages, the study reports.

In 2015 alone, federal employee compensation was $123,160, a figure 76 percent more than that paid to private sector counterparts, who received $69,901 on average. Looking at the 2015 numbers, average earnings for the 112 million private sector employees in the U.S. labor-force was just $58,726, according to Cato findings.

At the state level, federal employees earned, on average, 42 percent more than state and local government employees. The burden of executive branch employees alone is $267 billion in 2016, according to the study.

If you look at the top 21 major industries in the United States, federal employees rank among the top earners, the study reports.

When looking at benefits packages, the disparity in the figures is as astounding as in yearly earnings. In 2015, the benefits packages for federal employees averaged $36,795. That same year for private sector workers saw the average benefits compensation at just a third of that at $11,175, the study shows.

Federal employees are also fired at an incredibly low rate; just 0.5 percent of federal employees are terminated per year, a figure that is one-sixth of the rate of their private sector counterparts, the study concludes.

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