Federal pay rate outpaces private sector, lags behind inflation

Tuesday - 12/27/2011, 12:12pm EST

By Michael O'Connell
@moconnellWFED
Web Editor
Federal News Radio

Federal workers' paychecks increased at their slowest rate in 10 years in 2011, USA Today reports. The growth was stymied by a partial pay freeze. Despite the slowdown, federal employees did better than private sector or state and local government workers.

According to recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, the federal pay rate increased on average 1.3 percent for the budget year ending Sept. 30. During that same period, private workers' wages grew 1.2 percent, matching the same rate as local and state government pay rates.

All of these increases lagged behind the inflation rate.

The figures for Sept. 30 reflect the first full budget-year following President Barack Obama's cancellation of cost-of-living increases for federal workers in 2011 and 2012. Federal workers were still eligible for raises due to longevity, promotions and merit, but 2.1 million employees did not received the O.9 percent automatic cost-of-living adjustments they were scheduled to receive this year. By cutting that adjustment, the U.S. government saved $2 billion. In addition, federal workers will not receive the 1.1 percent across-the-board pay hike they were due on Jan. 1.

On average, federal employees were paid $75,296 last year. They also received $28,323 in pension, medical and other benefits.

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