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Data Sources and Methodologies


We conducted this analysis using federal agency obligations data reported to (which is available to the public) and agency employment data made available by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at We used personnel compensation obligations data for all CFO Act* agencies to identify the cost of personnel compensation for each agency except the Department of Defense (DOD) through the end of Q4 2017 (DOD data is through Q3 of fiscal year 2017).

The data we used excludes military compensation and benefits spending, such as housing allowances, health insurance, and retirement account contributions. Employee location and occupation data reflect the information made available by OPM for fiscal year 2017 in Fedscope as of October 2017. Employee information includes all full-time and other- than-full-time employees, reported to OPM.


* The Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1993 established the CFO Council and the member agencies. This group of 24 agencies accounts for the vast majority of all government spending.