Federal Government Sheds 12,000 Jobs in October

Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

The federal government lost 12,000 jobs in October, continuing a downward trend in federal employment, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The government shutdown, however, did not have “any discernible” impact on overall employment, hours or earnings last month, the report said. “Federal employees on furlough during the partial government shutdown were still considered employed in the payroll survey because they worked or received pay for the pay period that included the 12th of the month,” stated the jobs report, which the Labor Department typically publishes on the first Friday of each month. The shutdown, which lasted from Oct. 1 through Oct. 16, delayed the publication of the September and October figures.

Furloughed and excepted federal employees – workers who remained on the job during the shutdown – received back pay after the shutdown ended.

Federal jobs, excluding the Postal Service, decreased by about 8,000 in October, while the Postal Service lost roughly 4,000 jobs for the month. Government at all levels – federal, state and local – overall lost 8,000 jobs last month, despite 7,000 more jobs at the state level.

The U.S. economy overall (total nonfarm payroll employment) added 204,000 jobs in October, and unemployment was 7.3 percent, a slight increase from 7.2 percent in September. Workers who reported being temporarily laid off, including furloughed federal employees, however, increased by 448,000 last month. For the purposes of the October household survey, federal workers were classified as “unemployed on temporary layoff” because of the shutdown; those employees will be classified as employed in the November report which will affect this month’s unemployment rate. Job growth in October occurred in the leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and health care industries.

In September, the federal government shed 6,000 jobs. The long-term data reveal a federal workforce that is slowly shrinking: The federal government has lost 94,000 jobs over the past 12 months, 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 Andrey_Popov/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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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