Survey: Government Workers ‘Thriving’ While Private Sector Struggles

Median federal salary $27,000 higher than private employees


A recent Gallup survey found that government workers are "thriving" financially, while 66 percent of the private sector says they are struggling or suffering in the economy.

Government Executive reports:

Gallup recently found 44 percent of the federal workforce maintains a financial well-being that is "strong and consistent," 10 percentage points higher than the rest of the U.S. workforce. About 39 percent of feds were labeled as "struggling" (moderate or inconsistent financial well-being), while just 17 percent were "suffering" (low and inconsistent well-being). That compares to 42 percent of all workers who are struggling, and 24 percent that are suffering.

The measurement is a composite of the "perceptions of standards of living, affordability of basic necessities and financial woes based on region of country, family size, cost of living, debt and various other factors that go into subjective assessments of financial situations," Gallup noted, not just salary or overall compensation.

Federal employees therefore generally experience more economic stability and a less stressful lifestyle, according to Gallup.

The report noted that 308,000 non-Defense government employees earn at least $100,000, and that the average pay for federal workers is much higher than those in the private sector.

"The median federal employee salary—not accounting for benefits—is about $78,000 annually, while the median U.S. salary is about $51,000," Government Executive reported.

The Gallup survey was based on a sample of more than 80,000 full-time workers. Gallup said the results indicate that small businesses are still struggling in the economy.

"To explain why there may be gaps in financial well-being between federal workers and all other workers, the fact that over 50 [percent] of the working population work for small businesses means that if those small business are not thriving, those employees may not be reporting high levels of financial well-being," they said.