The federal-private sector pay gap remains essentially unchanged from a year ago at 34.07 percent, the Federal Salary Council has reported. While that represents the official word, based on BLS data, it likely will have little to no impact on the prospects for the January 2017 federal employee raise, which will be 1.6 percent unless political leaders take up the raise issue. They have shown no sign of interest in doing so this year, similar to the pattern of the prior three years when the council also reported a pay gap in the 34-35 percent range but raises only in the 1-2 percent range were paid—also in each case by default when no figure was enacted. The 1.6 percent raise is to be paid as 1 percentage point across the board and the 0.6 percent divided as locality pay. The largest gaps, and thus the largest locality pay portions to be paid, were found to be in the San Francisco, Washington-Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles and Sacramento areas. However, even in those areas, the raise likely will be only in about the 1.8 percent range. The lowest-paid locality, meanwhile, is the catchall rest of U.S., which covers areas in the contiguous states outside one of the 44 city areas (Alaska and Hawaii are separate localities in their entirety) as well as U.S. territories and possessions. The raise in those areas likely will be around 1.4 percent; exact figures are to be set by a late-year executive order formalizing the raise. Locality rates are paid according to where employees work, not where they live, and reflect comparisons of labor market conditions, not cost of living.