Federal Workforce Levels Off After Gradual Decline

Jeron/Shutterstock.com

The federal workforce did not grow between July and August, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Uncle Sam did not add or lose any jobs during the last month, remaining flat at around 2.7 million civilian employees, which includes Postal Service workers. The country added 169,000 total nonfarm jobs in August because of growth in the private sector, particularly in retail trade and health care, but experienced a decline in public sector employment across the federal and state governments combined. Local government is thriving, adding 20,000 jobs between July and August. Unemployment is at 7.3 percent, little changed from the previous month.

The longer-term figures reveal a federal workforce that is slowly shrinking: There are 71,000 fewer federal government jobs in August 2013 than in August 2012, according to BLS. The civilian workforce, excluding the Postal Service, has hovered around 2.1 million since 2012, with the most federal employees in California; Texas; Virginia; and Washington, D.C.

Sequestration, an increasing number of federal retirements and hiring freezes at many agencies have contributed to the reduction in federal jobs. The size of the federal workforce would grow by 6,180 employees under President Obama’s proposed fiscal 2014 budget. The Homeland Security, Justice and Veterans Affairs departments would account for the estimated 0.3 percent increase in full-time civilian employees in executive branch agencies between this year and next, according to the budget blueprint. The administration would add staff to boost medical care for veterans as well as hire employees to work on cybersecurity, background checks for guns, border protection and immigration reform. But it remains to be seen whether Congress will approve those proposals.

The size of the government’s total workforce, including military service members, the Postal Service, and the legislative and judicial branches, actually is projected to decrease under the president’s fiscal 2014 budget by 3.6 percent, from about 4.3 million to 4.1 million employees. The reduction largely would be due to fewer Postal Service employees as a result of buyouts and fewer military service members because of the force reduction in Afghanistan.

Many congressional Republicans, including House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, want to decrease the federal workforce through attrition, which means hiring fewer employees to replace those who leave the government. Ryan’s plan, for example, proposes cutting the workforce by 10 percent through attrition by 2015.

(Image via Jeron/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.