A Salary Boom or an Age Boom?
This USA Today study regarding six-figure federal salaries seems to be getting a lot of interest and is sparking the usual debates. The study shows that the number of federal employees making $100,000 or more climbed from 14 percent to 19 percent of the total civil service from Dec. 2007 to June 2009.
Among the reasons that USA Today cites are pay raises from Congress, the National Security Personnel System, and increases in the salaries of agency heads (which normally set the salary caps for the entire agency).
I would imagine another reason is that the civil service is becoming considerably older, and with a pay scale geared heavily towards seniority, that's going to mean more salaries on the high end. In addition to that, a lot of retirement-age workers are putting their retirements off until the economy gets better. That tilts the scales a bit.