Federal Agencies Lost 6,000 Jobs in September


The federal government shed 6,000 jobs in September, according to new numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. Postal Service -- which has seen an overall loss of about 200,000 employees over the last six years -- added 1,400 jobs last month, while the rest of federal agencies dropped a net of 7,300 workers. Including the Postal Service, the federal government ended the month with more than 2.7 million employees.

The BLS report, which typically comes out on the first Friday of each month, was delayed due to the government shutdown. The numbers do not reflect any impact of the shutdown, which began Oct. 1. BLS will also delay the October jobs report, by one week. That report will begin to illustrate the shutdown’s effect on the labor market.

Still, the new numbers demonstrate the impact of sequestration and other budget cuts on the federal workforce. Agencies, many of which have instituted hiring freezes to meet reduced spending levels, have cut 87,000 jobs in the last 12 months.

Overall, the U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in September and unemployment decreased slightly to 7.2 percent, the lowest rate since November 2008. Total government jobs, including state and local governments, increased by 22,000.

President Obama and congressional Republicans have voiced opposing views on the future of the federal workforce. Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget would add 6,180 employees, while House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has proposed reducing the workforce by 10 percent through attrition by 2015.

Ryan is leading the Republican side of renewed budget talks in conference committee, while Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., is heading up the negotiations for Democrats. 

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