2024 Locality Pay: Which Areas Had the Highest (or Lowest) Pay Raises?

Which 2024 locality pay areas received the highest pay raises? Which ones received the lowest? How did the new locality pay areas fare? Here are the answers.

The 2024 locality pay data has been released now that the 2024 federal pay raise has been finalized. While we have known for some time the average federal employee pay raise in 2024 would most likely be 5.2%, some federal employees will fare better than others with amounts above or below that amount.

With the release of the 2024 pay raise, we now know which geographic areas came out ahead and which ones are on the low end of the 2024 rates.

General Schedule Localities With the Highest and Lowest Pay Raises

For 2024, this table displays the top 10 areas with the highest GS locality pay rates. The Seattle-Tacoma area came out at the top of the list as it did in 2023. There are several changes in 2024.

The largest number of General Schedule (GS) locality pay recipients are in the Washington-Baltimore area. Washington, DC is not on the top-10 list this year. Minneapolis is also not on the top 10 list as it was in 2023. Rochester, NY is new to the list (and a new locality pay area). The Boston pay area (which now includes parts of MA-RI-NH-CT-ME-VT) also made the top-10 list this year after missing it in 2023.

Seattle-Tacoma, WA5.7%
San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA5.62%
New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA5.53%
San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA5.52%
Rochester-Batavia-Seneca Falls, NY5.46%
Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT-ME-VT5.44%
Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA5.44%
Albany-Schenectady, NY-MA5.4%
Sacramento-Roseville, CA-NV5.4%
Denver-Aurora, CO5.37%

Here are the areas with the lowest federal employee pay raises for 2024:

Houston-The Woodlands, TX4.89%
Miami-Port St. Lucie-Fort Lauderdale, FL4.94%
Corpus Christi-Kingsville-Alice, TX4.97%
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL4.97%
Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH-PA4.98%
Indianapolis-Carmel-Muncie, IN4.98%
Cincinnati-Wilmington-Maysville, OH-KY-IN4.99%
Rest of U.S.4.99%
Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI5.05%
Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV5.06%

New 2024 GS Locality Pay Areas

In 2024, the locality pay rates will impact more than 33,000 people who have been added to the GS locality pay system. Four new locality pay areas were added to the system and federal employees in these four geographic areas will receive locality pay in 2024.

These are the four new locality pay areas and how they fared in their first year as part of this pay system:

Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA5.28%
Reno-Fernley, NV5.25%
Rochester-Batavia-Seneca Falls, NY5.46%
Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene, WA-ID5.3%

There have been numerous changes to locality pay areas for 2024. While four new locality pay areas were added, there were many other additions to locality pay. The 2024 descriptions of these areas created some confusion. Federal employees who thought they were going to be added assumed their geographic area was dropped in the final product.

In some cases, the confusion was due to what is included in a combined statistical area (CSA). Instead of listing various counties, the new descriptions sometimes included a CSA. Many people do not know if they are in a CSA or what may be included in a particular CSA. This article contained an explanation.

Requests to be Added to Locality Pay

A number of FedSmith readers have asked why their geographic area has not been added to the locality pay area system. Being added to a locality can bring a higher salary so there is a motivation for federal employees wanting to be part of one of these areas.

An earlier article listed 72 areas that wanted to become part of the locality pay system and the status of those requests. Some of these areas have been included for 2024. The chart in the article explains why many areas were not being added to the system.

The Federal Salary Council (FSC) does not make the final decision on adding an area to a GS locality pay area or creating a new GS locality pay area. Obtaining the approval of the Salary Council is a first step for an area to be added to the system. The President’s Pay Agent makes the decision to approve or disapprove a recommendation from the FSC.

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 on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47