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Salary & Compensation Research Guide

Sources for Federal Employee Data

Andrew B. Graham, lithographer. E pluribus unum[between 1890 and 1900]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The content on this page is concerned with the current and historical sources for federal employee salaries. While we have included salaries for some very specific agencies that are often treated independently, we haven't included every instance. For anyone needing to look at the history, responsibility for publishing and publication of the data has changed hands and we have tried to capture those changes. Before the OPM, there was the U.S. Civil Service Commission and others including GAO (General Accounting Office, later renamed General Accountability Office), Census Bureau, Department of Interior, etc. Also, much of the current data will not cover specific people but historically, some sources did report the salaries for named individuals.

For anyone looking for current information or data from the 1990s forward, the agency primarily responsible for publishing salaries is the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the data is most easily found on their website. They did publish in print prior to moving to an online presence and we have included some of those publications below.

We have not included a lot of analysis of federal salaries but there are reports like Federal Workers: Results of Studies on Federal Pay Varied Due to Differing Methodologies published by GAO or comparative studies of federal and private sector salaries like Comparing the Compensation of Federal and Private-Sector Employees, 2011 to 2015 by Congressional Budget Office that can be helpful to find either good data or useful reference sources.

Print Resources

There are some agencies have employee lists of their own. This includes the Post Office and State Department as well as law enforcement, military, and intelligence personnel.

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.