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Federal Employees Not Overpaid, Says OMB Chief Peter R. Orszag

peter_orszagRecent media reports that suggest federal employees are overpaid compared to their private-sector counterparts are “misleading,” Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag said Tuesday.

At a Government Executive Leadership Briefing held yesterday, Orszag talked about the recent press coverage that showed that for certain occupations, average salaries are higher in the federal government than in the private sector, according to GovExec.

“I think the key thing to remember about that is the federal workforce is more highly educated than the private workforce,” Orszag said. “Roughly a third of the private workforce has a college degree, for example, [while] well over 50 percent of the federal workforce [does].”

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, recently requested federal agencies report to him on how many of their employees make $100,000 or more, and whether those numbers have increased in recent years. USA Today reported last week that for 216 jobs for which there was both public and private sector pay data, 180 of those positions had higher average salaries in the federal government.

“Basically the entire delta between private sector and public sector federal government average pay can be explained by education and experience,” Orszag said. “While there may be some remaining disparities, I think some of the more dramatic newspaper stories I’ve seen about that disparity are somewhat misleading.”

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