The 2021 stealth pay raise for feds

Normally this time of year, the issue of a federal pay raise in the following January is sort of a big deal. In a presidential year Democrats would often be pushing it big time while even conservative Republicans might look the other way or even join in to okay it.

Most politicians know, deep down, that a federal pay raise is a big deal not just a gift to remote swamp rats inside the Beltway. A federal pay raise is a national event that benefits just about every city, town and hamlet in the U.S. At a time of great economic uncertainty (like now) it is the financial bedrock of many communities that, because tax revenues have plummeted, are either laying off or considering furloughing cops, teachers and other state local employees. New York City, according to The New York Times, is eyeballing 22,000 city jobs – not a good sign.

The good news is that a pay raise is quietly on track with the blessing of the White House and House Democrats. The bad news is that feds aren’t likely to get the 3% they are pushing. The actual news is that a raise of any size may happen in the midst of a pandemic that could be with us a long time. A federal pay raise is an economic shot in the arm even if you don’t work for Uncle Sam, or maybe don’t even work. Each federal worker, by some estimates, helps support six community jobs from cooks and parking lot attendants to real estate brokers, merchants and the folks who fix our plumbing, roofs, and entertain us. A federal pay raise of whatever amount is worth at least as much to individuals and businesses in Riverside, California; Ogden, Utah; Fayettville, North Carolina; Naperville, Illinois; Anderson, Indiana; Metairie, Lousiana; as it is in D.C.

A bigger federal pay raise would of course, be better — at least for feds. Health premiums are going up next year. The impact of COVID-19 on medical costs is TBD. While related costs have skyrocketed, many people have deferred other medical treatments, visits or elective surgery for obvious reasons. So more, as always for the recipients, would be better.

For a look at where the feds are, and where the 2021 pay raise will have the biggest economic impact, check out this list from a 2018 Office of Personnel Management report on the location of federal workers by city and state:

  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: 282,666
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: 56,400
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC: 47,146
  • Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD: 41,835
  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA: 35,488
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: 32,984
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA: 32,368
  • Los Angeles-Beach-Anaheim, CA: 30,839
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI: 28,765
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX: 27,574
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: 26,870
  • Oklahoma City, OK: 25,005
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: 22,745
  • Urban Honolulu, HI: 21,913
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH: 21,805
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL: 20,844
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO: 19,985
  • Kansas City, MO-KS: 18,774
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: 18,430
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: 17,866
  • Bremerton-Silverdale, WA: 16,887
  • Ogden-Clearfield, UT: 16,631
  • Huntsville, AL: 16,080
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL: 15,820
  • St. Louis, MO-IL: 15,620
  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI: 15,519
  • Dayton, OH: 15,515
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: 14,213
  • Warner Robins, GA: 13,680
  • Cleveland-Elyria, OH: 12,551
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA: 12,481
  • Richmond, VA: 12,262
  • Jacksonville, FL: 12,211
  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA: 12,182
  • Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN: 11,550
  • Albuquerque, NM: 11,369
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI: 11,155
  • Fayetteville, NC: 10,996
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 10,369
  • El Paso, TX: 9,972
  • Columbus, OH: 9,962
  • Tucson, AZ: 9,446
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL: 9,437
  • California-Lexington Park, MD: 9,273
  • New Orleans-Metairie, LA: 9,115
  • Bakersfield, CA: 8,932
  • Colorado Springs, CO: 8,867
  • Memphis, TN-MS-AR: 8,704
  • Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN: 8,647
  • Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN: 8,526

Meantime, for an update on the status of the 2021 pay raise and the impact of the proposed payroll tax changes on your paycheck, read this story from fellow Federal Report writer and Federal News Network reporter Nicole Ogrysko.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Oscar Mayer will let people rent the iconic Wienermobile to help propose to their significant other, for free. Those interested must fill out an online application three to 12 months in advance, and anyone chosen will be notified one week prior to the requested date based on availability. The vehicle measures 27 feet long.

Source: Nerdist

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Mar 02, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 22.4699 -0.0304 0.53%
L 2025 11.3615 -0.0341 1.10%
L 2030 39.6579 -0.1511 1.38%
L 2035 11.8567 -0.0498 1.50%
L 2040 44.6691 -0.2053 1.65%
L 2045 12.1936 -0.0604 1.77%
L 2050 26.6147 -0.1412 1.90%
L 2055 12.9052 -0.0841 2.48%
L 2060 12.9052 -0.0841 2.48%
L 2065 12.9051 -0.0841 2.47%
G Fund 16.5348 0.0006 0.15%
F Fund 20.7282 0.0221 -2.15%
C Fund 57.7561 -0.4702 1.72%
S Fund 81.3746 -1.41 8.21%
I Fund 36.3008 0.0128 1.15%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.