While job creation held steady throughout most of the country in July, federal employees reported sharply deteriorating conditions, according to Gallup’s Job Creation Index.
Forty-two percent of federal workers said their employer was letting people go, up from 34 percent in February and 37 percent in June, Gallup found. Only 25 percent reported their agency was hiring in July.
Gallup said sequestration was the likely culprit. “Although these automatic spending cuts went into effect in early March,” the polling company said, “it is possible that the pace of furloughs and layoffs increased in July as federal agencies moved to implement the staffing component of budget cuts.”
The index held steady for nongovernment workers and state and local government workers, who reported little change in hiring at their workplaces, Gallup said. The index scored overall U.S. job creation at +21 in July, compared to +22 in June.
Deterioration in the federal government jobs scene came from feelings that agencies are letting people go coupled with a lack of hiring. “However, when comparing today's figures with the pre-sequestration figure from the start of this year, reported layoffs (up 6 percentage points since January) have risen more than hiring (down 1 point) has declined,” Gallup said.
While layoffs, or reductions in force, are rare in federal government, even amid sequestration budget cuts, "letting people go" -- as the survey words it -- might include retirements and jobs vacated through voluntary separation incentives.
Gallup's index is based on employed Americans' estimates of their companies' hiring and firing practices. Gallup includes the jobs questions in daily tracking surveys of 1,000 people reached by cellphone and landlines. The company computes the index on daily and weekly bases.