It’s commonly assumed that just about all federal workers earn at least moderate salaries. But the recent partial federal government shutdown highlighted many serving in lower-wage positions who incurred significant financial burdens from missing multiple paychecks.
Given the large size of the workforce, it’s worth considering where these lower-wage federal employees work and the types of jobs they fill. We’ve compiled data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) tallying salaries for all civilian, full-time nonseasonal workers, excluding the Postal Service and a few smaller agencies.
To be certain, the majority of federal workers do earn at least mid-level salaries as they tend to possess years of experience and relatively high educational attainment. Nationally, just under 6 percent of full-time civilians earn salaries less than $40,000. That share climbs to about 16 percent for those earning below $50,000, and 28 percent for salaries under $60,000, by our calculations.