The Government Gravy Train

My blog friend Shane recently shared at his place about a USA Today article titled Federal pay ahead of private industry.. here are a few clips from the article:
Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds. Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

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

These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Here is a sampling of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data listed in USA Today:
Airline pilot, copilot, flight engineer$93,690$120,012-$26,322
Broadcast technician$90,310$49,265$41,045
Budget analyst$73,140$65,532$7,608
Civil engineer$85,970$76,184$9,786
Computer, information systems manager$122,020$115,705$6,315
Computer support specialist$45,830$54,875-$9,045
Crane, tower operator$54,900$44,044$10,856
Dental assistant$36,170$32,069$4,101
Electrical engineer$86,400$84,653$1,747
Financial analysts$87,400$81,232$6,168
Graphic designer$70,820$46,565$24,255
Highway maintenance worker$42,720$31,376$11,344
Landscape architects$80,830$58,380$22,450
Laundry, dry-cleaning worker$33,100$19,945$13,155
Locomotive engineer$48,440$63,125-$14,685
Mechanical engineer$88,690$77,554$11,136
Office clerk$34,260$29,863$4,397
Pest control worker$48,670$33,675$14,995
Physicians, surgeons$176,050$177,102-$1,052
Physician assistant$77,770$87,783-$10,013
Procurement clerk$40,640$34,082$6,558
Public relations manager$132,410$88,241$44,169
Recreation worker$43,630$21,671$21,959
Registered nurse$74,460$63,780$10,680
Respiratory therapist$46,740$50,443-$3,703
Sheet metal worker$49,700$43,725$5,975
Guess my first reaction is to say that I am not too surprised by this. It is just another outrageous example of how our government has lost its connection to the country.

My impressions of government workers resonated with this survey when I worked as a contractor for the US Department of Agriculture. The government employees seemed to be a part of some sort of full-employment legislation - and they acted like it. I came away from my tenure at the USDA with a very dim view of government bureaucracy.. and seeing these stats does not enhance that view at all.

What are your impressions of government employee compensation? Did these stats surprise you? What do you think the disparity in health, pension and other benefits?


  1. If you want to consider the governmental gravy train, think about our Congressmen. If we were smart, we'd run for office.

  2. I would say that the clergy category is woefully underpaid in the private sector though... especially since a lot of churches expect MDiv degrees.

  3. @Sue - I wonder what the private sector version of a congressmen would be?

    @Shane - A lot of pastors out there working for next to nothing.. I was one of those :) ..I often think that teachers are probably the best private sector profession to compare with clergy.. given that the salary numbers may not be too far off.

  4. Never mind, they're right now in the process of totally bankrupting everyone including themselves so no more lush pensions for malfunctioning civil servants!

  5. @CrsisMaven - thanks for stopping by and for the link.


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.