Federal Workers Paid More Than Private Employees For Similar Work

Federal employees are earning considerably more than people doing similar work in the private sector, according to an analysis from USA Today -- news that’s sure to rile lawmakers already concerned about the rate of federal spending.

In more than eight out of 10 occupations, federal employees earned higher salaries, the newspaper's analysis of federal data found.

Among the higher earners are federal accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors.

Federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for jobs that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. By comparison, the average pay for the same batch of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.

The figures don't include health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee and $9,882 per private employee in 2008, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The federal government spends about $125 billion each year on compensation for about 2 million civilian employees.

Federal pay, which is at the center of a contentious political debate over the federal budget deficit, was one of the top campaign issues for Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who won Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in January. He is fighting for a federal pay freeze.

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