Biggest and Smallest 2018 Raises for Federal Employees

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By on December 26, 2017 in Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments

Man holding large and small piggy bank symbolizing a large versus small pay raise

The average federal employee raise in 2018 will be 1.9% starting in January.

With locality pay spreading in cities across the country, the average figure is relatively meaningless when someone asks, “What will my raise be?” in cities ranging from Davenport, Iowa to San Francisco or Anchorage, Alaska.

The reality is that locality pay skews the pay of federal employees under the General Schedule. The disparity in pay can grow over time as some localities often receive a higher raise than other localities.

Top 10 Locality Pay Raise Areas

Employees in the Washington, DC locality pay area will receive the highest locality pay increase in 2018 with a raise of 2.29%. Coming in first may make some federal employees in the Washington area happy. In 2017, Washington area employees were second among the top 10 locality pay raise areas. On the other hand, in 2017, their raise was a little higher at 2.32%.

Wealthiest Counties in America Near DC

With its huge base of federal agencies and government contractors, the Washington, DC area has the four wealthiest counties in America.

Loudoun County, VA has a median householdĀ  income of $125,900; Falls Church, VA with a median household income of $122,092; Fairfax County, VA with a median household income of $112,844; and Howard County, MD with a median household income of $110,224. (Falls Church, VA is an independent city with county-level governance status according to Forbes magazine.)

Employees in the San Jose-San Francisco locality pay area may not be as happy. In 2017, they were number one among locality pay areas with a raise of 2.42%. In 2018, they came in second among locality pay areas with an upcoming increase of 2.21%.

Here is a listing of the top 10 locality pay area winners for 2018. Actually, there are 11 areas since Austin and Dallas are tied with a 2018 raise of 2.05%.

Locality Pay Area Percentage of 2018 Raise
Washington 2.29
San Jose 2.21
Los Angeles 2.12
San Diego 2.12
Seattle 2.11
Alaska 2.11
New York 2.10
Denver 2.07
Austin 2.05
Dallas 2.05

Bottom 10 Locality Pay Areas

At the other end of the scale, the “Rest of the U.S.” comes in last with a raise of 1.67%. The “Rest of the U.S.” was also last in 2017. But, the good news is that the 2018 raise is higher than the 0.71% received by the “Rest of the U.S.” in 2017.

Here are the bottom 10 locality pay areas for 2017:

Locality Pay Area Percentage of 2018 Raise
Miami 1.82
Pittsburgh 1.82
Columbus 1.81
Palm Bay 1.80
Atlanta 1.79
Albuquerque, Santa Fe 1.75
Indianapolis 1.73
Cleveland 1.71
Cincinnati 1.70
Rest of U.S. 1.67

Complete Listing of Locality Pay Raises

Here is the listing of locality pay raise for 2018 depicting the highest raise to the lowest raise.

Locality Pay Area Percentage of 2018 Raise
Washington 2.29
San Jose 2.21
Los Angeles 2.12
San Diego 2.12
Seattle 2.11
Alaska 2.11
New York 2.10
Denver 2.07
Austin 2.05
Dallas 2.05
Laredo 2.03
Boston 2.00
Houston 2.00
Philadelphia 1.99
Sacramento 1.99
Huntsville 1.98
Albany, NY 1.97
St. Louis 1.96
Minneapolis 1.94
Colorado Springs 1.92
Hartford 1.91
Richmond 1.91
Chicago 1.90
Charlotte 1.89
Las Vegas 1.89
Portland 1.88
Davenport 1.86
Detroit 1.86
Harrisburg 1.86
Dayton 1.85
Kansas City 1.85
Milwaukee 1.85
Tucson 1.85
Buffalo 1.84
Phoenix 1.84
Hawaii 1.84
Raleign 1.83
Miami 1.82
Pittsburgh 1.82
Columbus 1.81
Palm Bay 1.80
Atlanta 1.79
Albuquerque, Santa Fe 1.75
Indianapolis 1.73
Cleveland 1.71
Cincinnati 1.70
Rest of U.S. 1.67

Defining 2018 Locality Pay Areas

For those seeking a listing of the locality pay area definitions for 2018, check out this listing.

© 2019 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

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About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters onĀ federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47

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