Updated: October 28, 2016
Today, October 28, 2016, at 0830EST, the United States Employment Cost Index (ECI) was released. The releasing of the ECI by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics is an eagerly awaited quarterly economic indicator for those in the stock market and politics; but what makes this morning’s release important to our military is that one of the main indicators is used to determine any pay raise amount for 2018’s raise.
According to U.S. Code Title 37, that is how it is supposed to work unless the President determines that the state of the economy is such that he must intervene. For 2014, 2015, 2016, and again for 2017’s pay raise, President Obama stepped in and followed the recommendation of the Department of Defense (DOD) to mandate the lesser raise, and because Congress did not find the money in the budget to pay for the additional percent increase, lower amounts carried the day.
The indicator from ECI that is utilized for the 2018 raise is the “wages and salaries, for private industry workers for the period ending September 2016”; this morning’s number is 2.4%. For 2018, the military should see a raise of 2.4%; however, if the last four years are an indication, the Department of Defense will once again request a lesser amount, and it is likely that the President, whoever that shall be, will follow that recommendation, and currently, according to the Green Book released, that would be just a 1.6 percent raise. Unless, of course, Congress can find the additional funds to cover the ECI amount per Title 37.
We’ll know more when the 2018 military pay will shape up once the new President releases his or her budget in early February 2017.