"$1MM Per Minute In Salaries, $22BN Per Year In Vacation Pay" And Other Fun Facts About The Federal Workforce

The folks at Open The Books decided to take a deep dive into the salaries of 1.97 million federal employees, using data collected from the Office Of Personnel Management and the USPS via FOIA requests, and the endless examples of excessive pay and pure waste are sure to make you sick, if not downright suicidal.  Here are just some of the key takeaways as summarized by OTB:

1. The federal government pays its disclosed workforce $1 million per minute, $66 million per hour, and $524 million per day. In FY2016, the federal government disclosed 1.97 million employees at a cash compensation cost of $136.3 billion.


2. Over a six-year period (FY2010-2016), the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more has increased by 165 percent; those making $150,000 or more has grown by 60 percent; and those making more than $100,000 has increased by 37 percent.


3. On average, federal employees are given 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days per year. If each employee used 13 sick days and took 20 vacation days in addition to the 10 federal holidays, it would cost taxpayers an estimated $22.6 billion annually.


4. In FY2016, a total 406,960 employees made six-figure incomes – that's roughly one in five disclosed federal employees. Furthermore, 29,852 federal employees out-earned each of the 50 state governors receiving more than $190,823.


5. At 78 out of the 122 independent agencies and departments we studied, the average employee compensation exceeded $100,000 in FY2016.




6. With 326 employees at a total cash compensation of $28.8 million, we found a federal agency in San Francisco – Presidio Trust – paid out three of the top four federal bonuses including the largest in the federal government in FY2016. The biggest bonus went to an HR Manager in charge of payroll for $141,525.


7. Together, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employ more than half of the disclosed federal workforce. As the largest civilian employer within the federal government, the USPS employed 32 percent of all disclosed federal employees, totaling 621,523 people on payroll in FY2016. The VA employed the second most employees with 372,614 or 19 percent of the disclosed federal workforce.


8. Only one-third of the 35,000 lawyers in the federal workforce work at the Department of Justice. The entire staff of federal lawyers earned $4.8 billion in FY2016.


9. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employed 3,498 police officers at a total cost of $172 million in FY2016. When asked about corresponding crime statistics, the VA was unable to provide any information on the number of crimes or incidents.


10. There are an additional 2 million undisclosed employees at the Department of Defense and in the active military. Their estimated cash compensation value, combined with $1 billion in undisclosed bonuses and $125 billion in hidden pension data, amounts to roughly $221 billion in undisclosed federal cash compensation per year.

So where is all the money going?  As it turns out, federal employees working in "the beltway" and California receive 22% of all federal compensation dollars.  Meanwhile, employees located in just the top 10 states received 41% ($55.5 billion).  Of course, out of that top 10, only two states, Georgia and Texas, consistently vote 'red' in national elections which may help to explain why the Trump administration has struggled with leaks from a variety of agencies since moving into the White House.

The growth in the number of federal employees earning over $150,000 per year is simply mind numbing.  Keep in mind, these salaries are doled out regardless of whether or not these employees take advantage of their 8 weeks of paid time off every year. 

There are now 29,852 federal employees who out-earn every governor of the 50 states, receiving more than $190,823 each. Over a six-year period (FY2010-2016), the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more has increased by 165 percent, those making $150,000 or more has grown by 60 percent, and those making more than $100,000 has increased by 37 percent.


Of the roughly 2 million disclosed federal employees, 406,960 made six figures in cash compensation in FY2016. Additionally, 24,799 federal employees earned $200,000 or more while 3,154 made $300,000 or more. The top-paid federal employee overall, Dr. David Harpole, made $403,849 as a thoracic and cardiac surgeon for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This department employs more top earners than any other department or independent agency

As if the above isn't bad enough, things get really disturbing when you learn that various agencies employee an army of "Interior Designers" making up to $150,000 per year...

The Department of State displayed the most egregious trends in regards to interior designers, doling out - on average - $122,093 to each of its 24 interior designers. The highest-paid interior design employees, however, worked for the Department of Treasury, earning $132,438, on average. In all, the federal government paid 40 interior designers more than $100,000 each.

...and an even larger army of "Gardeners" making up to $160,000.

Perhaps it's time for a career change?  Here's an idea...you could pick up a job mowing the lawn at the State Department for 40 hours a week at a salary of $141,555 and then use the other 128 hours of every week to get an Interior Design gig at Treasury for $152,687...all the while collecting two pensions and making nearly 5x the average American household yet still working less hours despite having two jobs...

Here is the full report from Open The Books:


Stu Elsample Wed, 12/27/2017 - 19:26 Permalink

Career welfare recipients (ghetto trash) are federal employees. They're paid very well to vote (Democrat) and reproduce.That cesspool swamp needs drained too.

Rentier88 yellowsub Wed, 12/27/2017 - 20:55 Permalink

Not to piss in the kool-aid...

11+ weeks off (sick, holiday and vacation).

Base $85k+ in non-income state tax state, but with OT if choose can be $105K+.

Daily work load plus on call for 8hr shift, so can hit Air Force gym and workout..aka getting paid to lift weights. lol

Union so basically can't be fired and my boss because of prime and sub-contractor on same contract my boss doesn't even work for my company so has little to no power over me...zero stress and never take work home with me soon as off center I forget the place.

In reply to by yellowsub

Escrava Isaura infotechsailor Thu, 12/28/2017 - 04:13 Permalink

I got it! Any type of power, be that private sector or government, will eventually lead to social inequalities and breakdowns? Check.

That capitalism and free market are totally unworkable because these are not science but theories? Check

That industrialization and population growth is totally unsustainable because we live in a finite planet? Check

So, how to overcome these mistakes? We need to end capitalism, industrialization, and population growth. Now try to tell that to an indoctrinated liberal and a brainwashed conservative.

You can’t, because religion and capitalism made a person as stupid as a person can be to face facts and reality. Post collapse, whoever is left, their kids will go back to a single god believe. There won’t be structures power such as in religion, private sector, or government.

So, in the mean time, because no one can stop it, enjoy as much as you can. Don’t try to change, like the conservatives are trying to do, because it will only get worse and leading to unnecessary fight.

Tax government workers at 50%. The rich entrepreneurs like Gates and Military Industrial Complex at 85%. And the financial sectors like Goldman Sachs at 98%.

These are the only changes necessary to minimize inequality and avoid this Polish movie end that went something like this: Jewish woman: Why did you kill my brother, the doctors, the teachers, and…………… The Christian peasant/farmer: Because we were left with nothing while they took everything. That’s why we killed them.


In reply to by infotechsailor

RedBaron616 infotechsailor Sat, 12/30/2017 - 07:02 Permalink

D.C., being full of agency headquarters, is overloaded with big money. Congress actually dictated that DoD HQs be trimmed by 25%. Being in one of these, I can assure you that many could be cut more than that without any lose of productivity. Two many divisions, etc. just make for empire building. Less people enables more communication without the additional layers of management.

In reply to by infotechsailor

Anteater Rentier88 Thu, 12/28/2017 - 03:21 Permalink


One $BILLION A DAY passes through that site, and they just got +15%

budget increase from Trump and his GOP Congress, ...as they have

every year since the Pentagon Coup  of 9/11. Mission Accomplished!

Having a $32M gym on a remote tropical base, with two golf courses,

free housing, free utilities, free food, a yacht basin, free medical and

dental, bungalows on the beach for officers, free space-A air travel,

and that's just 1 of the 800. AND THEY PAY NO US INCOME TAXES!!!

In reply to by Rentier88

Rentier88 Anteater Thu, 12/28/2017 - 13:17 Permalink

Guam or Ascension island?  Can't be Guam think there is 7 golf courses there.

Nah no thanks too limiting:

Able to workout during your 8hr shift?  That is the real benefit as frees up your non-work hours to have other fun.

Free govt. class housing.

Free utilities good, but I have some that now my internet is free and write off part of my other utilites.

Free food and very limited in selection.

Officiers?  Take it you mean are military aka the govt. owns you, definitely no thanks...

In reply to by Anteater

Cassandra.Hermes yogibear Wed, 12/27/2017 - 20:54 Permalink

Have you try to find high school teachers for AP classes?
I employ seven applied mathematicians and paying between 150,000 and 230,000
I remember after SEF regulations we're introduced in USA the salary jumped 15%
and salary just jumped 20% because of MIFID2 in EU.

If you need brain you have to pay for it! We can find cheap and educated labour. The US universities are not able to keep with the demand and Ivy league are the worst, nobody from ivy league is employable, they just want to be managers.

In reply to by yogibear

LetThemEatRand Wed, 12/27/2017 - 19:18 Permalink

Totally out of control, but still pales in comparison to the trillions that flow out of the government into the defense contractors and bankers.  Just about every Republican since Nixon and even most Democratic candidates have promised to rein it in, yet it just grows year-by-year.  Trump is the latest to lie to our faces about reversing government expansion and cutting government waste.

Stu Elsample Giant Meteor Wed, 12/27/2017 - 20:00 Permalink

It's not just their monthly check...the long term costs due to the dumbing down of white kids just to school their dumb kids...jailing them....replacing what they have stolen or damaged....paying medical bills for their injuries due to gang bangin...the destruction of cities...etc., etc,....The black plague has cost u.s. taxpayers way more money than you could ever comprehend

In reply to by Giant Meteor

Giant Meteor Stu Elsample Wed, 12/27/2017 - 20:14 Permalink

Naw , forget  all that tax payer nonsense ,,It's all theft all the time ...Shit, they just print up whatever is needed .. presto, no problem ..The dumbing down you mention, the root of the poisonous tree that corrupts ALL, is the current debt money arrangement ..And yes, i'd say by some estimates 10 trillion not accounted for (who knows really, how much it really is) from the DoD "budget" (there's a hoot) is pretty fucking incomprehensible. Then there is the old "derivatives" , notional value, mark to unicorn numbers in the private economy ..Oh, and all those missing trillions? That doesn't address the trillions that they KNOW on what it was spent , you know, taking out the competitors ...Fucking tax payers ... I am belly laughin here .. 

In reply to by Stu Elsample

new game Wed, 12/27/2017 - 19:18 Permalink

i've been in the country worker hive. these bees work 4-5 hours per 8 hour shift. and that isn't accounting for twice the amount of people needed to do the task. so, with some maff, 2-3 hours work of 8. oh, and need i mention the equipment. huh, spendy, new, and shiney with something for almost every task. millions and millions $'s of equip and facilities. actually billions...

Giant Meteor RightEdge Wed, 12/27/2017 - 19:42 Permalink

$2.3 trillion , Rummy admits. gone missing,, one day before 9-11, obviously down the memory hole from there ...Then ... ripped from headlines ..$6.5 TRILLION MISSING FROM DEFENSE DEPARTMENT'Fact the Pentagon can't account for how it spent money reveals a potentially far greater problem than theft'"Published: 08/17/2016and then ..$10 Trillion Missing From Pentagon And No One — Not Even the DoD — Knows Where It IsMARCH 27, 2017You know, I'm not a rocket scientist, but it appears there is some really bad book keeping going on here .. 

In reply to by RightEdge