When I worked in the security industry, we used to consider it one of the few recession-proof industries, assuming that when times got tough, people would be more inclined to add security. It didn’t work that way in practice, because there really aren’t any recession-proof industries, just recession-resistant industries … except one. USA Today reports that federal salaries have increased rapidly during the recession, leading to an explosion of six-figure salaries in the public sector:
The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.
Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession’s first 18 months — and that’s before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.
Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.
Bureaucracy is the real recession-proof industry. The numbers are mind-boggling. In 18 months, the number of federal employees making over $100K have increased 46%. The number making over $150K has more than doubled.
It’s not as if they’ve been asked to do more with less, either. In the first six months of the year, the federal government was adding 10,000 jobs per month, and over the recession had grown the ranks of bureaucrats by 9.8%. The private sector, during that same period, shed 7.3 million jobs to contract 6.3%.
Here’s the fun fact of the day from USA Today:
When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.
Got that? Seventeen hundred employees at DoT make $170,000 per year. Eighteen months ago, there was one.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) says that “There’s no way to justify this to the American people. It’s ridiculous,” and he’s right. The pay raises are astronomical, averaging 6.6% during one of the worst recessions in decades, while at the same time hiring like crazy. Where are all these employees going, and what are they doing?