Federal Payroll App

Jan 03, 2016

United States Office of Personnel Management Seal.jpg

We are excited to announce the launch of our new federal payroll app as part of our ongoing transparency project. This detailed level of government transparency is vitally important to fostering good governance.




As shown in Chart 1, the federal payroll app contains a total number of employee records of approximately 1.8 million per year for the years 1998 to 2011. Over this time-period, the employees expanded by 18 percent to 2.13 million in 2011 from 1.8 million in 1998. Interestingly, nearly all of this growth occurred in the last four years.

  Chart 1 Number of Federal Employees 1998 to 2011.jpg


At the same time, as shown in Chart 2, the federal payroll app shows the dramatic growth in salary expenses. Between 1998 and 2011, total salary grew by a whopping 99 percent to $160.2 billion in 2011 from $80.4 billion in 1998.

  Chart 2 Fedeal Salary Expense 1998 to 2011.jpg


As a result, as shown in Chart 3, the average salary of these federal employees has soared. Between 1998 and 2011, average #federal salary grew by 68 percent to $75,295 in 2011 from $44,767 in 1998. (Click to Tweet) In contrast, inflation grew by only 31 percent.

  Chart 3 Average Salary per Federal Employee 1998 to 2011.jpg


Beyond the aggregate statistics, the federal payroll app also allows you to compare INDIVIDUAL employee records as provided by the listing of Federal agencies on Want to know if any of your neighbors work for the federal government? Or how much they make? It’s in our app.


Overall, we currently have individual payroll records for the following:


  • All Executive Agencies (Departments)
  • Almost all the Boards, Commissions, and Committees with separate paid staff
  • All but 6 of the 55 Independent Agencies
  • 2 of the 4 Quasi Official Agencies


The data comes from an extract of the Central Personnel Data File, of the U.S Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The data was extracted by the Data Analysis Group, Office of Planning and Policy Analysis, Office of the Director, OPM.




However, the following federal employees are not listed in this data: Employees in sensitive occupations, Department of Defense agencies, security employees (FBI, Secret Service, DEA, IRS, ATFE), U.S Mint, and State Department employees in the Foreign Service.


In addition, the data does not include the following Federal civilian employees: Members or employees of Congress, Architect of the Capital, Botanic Garden, Library of Congress, General Accounting Office, Congressional Budget Office.


The federal payroll app is only the beginning. In the future, we plan to update and expand the capabilities of the federal payroll app and build a payroll app for all state and local governments.


We hope you will support our efforts by visiting frequently, telling all of your friends and colleagues, and sharing on social media. In the near future we will also be launching a crowd-funding initiative to help bring this project to full fruition . . . stay tuned!

Category: Federal Payroll

Wendy Warcholik

Dr. Wendy P. Warcholik has worked in public policy for nearly 20 years. She is currently the Director of the Family Prosperity Initiative at the American Conservative Union Foundation. She has also been at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, The Tax Foundation, and The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. She received her PhD in Economics from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA).

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