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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Agencies on a Hiring Spree?

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As a House committee votes to approve a measure that would reduce the size of the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next three years, MSNBC chimes in with a report that government's employment rolls have grown since the beginning of the recession.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 12 percent more federal workers now than in December 2007, when the downturn started. OPM puts the tally at 15 percent from September 2007 to June of this year. Taking the longer view, Congressional Research Service shows an increase of more than 350,000 federal employees between 2000 and 2010.

But lest you think all of government is on a hiring spree, the growth is heavily concentrated in three departments: Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. And these are precisely the agencies that elected officials from across the political spectrum have joined forces to support in a period spanning two presidential administrations -- one Republican, one Democrat.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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