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[Excerpt] How does the compensation of federal civilian employees compare with that of employees in the private sector? The answer to that question is complicated by the fact that the federal and private-sector workforces differ in characteristics that can affect compensation, such as experience, education, and occupation. On the whole, federal workers tend to be older, more educated, and more concentrated in professional occupations than private-sector workers. To account for such differences, the Congressional Budget Office has used data for 2011 through 2015 reported by a sample of households and employers to estimate differences between the cost of wages and benefits for federal employees and the cost of wages and benefits for similar private-sector employees, defined as those having a set of similar observable characteristics. Specifically, in its analysis, CBO sought to account for differences in individuals’ level of education, years of work experience, occupation, size of employer, geographic location (region of the country and urban or rural location), veteran status, and various demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, immigration status, and citizenship). This report updates a 2012 CBO report that compared the compensation of federal and private-sector employees for the 2005–2010 period.


Suggested Citation
Congressional Budget Office. (2017). Comparing the compensation of federal and private-sector employees, 2011 to 2015. Washington, D.C.: Author.