Editorials

Face the Facts | Federal jobs

Face the Facts USA is a nonpartisan project of the George Washington University’s school of journalism. Find an expanded version of the graphic at The Sun News’ Opinion Blog, thesunnews.typepad.com/opinionblog.

FACT: The federal government employs 600,000 fewer workers today than the average for the past 50 years. In 2011, 4.36 million worked for all branches of the federal government, civilian and military. Peak federal employment in the last half century was at the height of the Vietnam War, 1968, with 6.68 million. Federal workers in 2011 drew a total of $432.6 billion in compensation. The pay is getting better: in 1964 a larger federal workforce, 5.2 million, earned just $210 billion in inflation-adjusted, 2011-value dollars. But better-educated federal employees (with some advanced professional degree) earn less than their counterparts in the private sector.

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