The federal government overall lost about 5,000 jobs in May, according to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Federal jobs, excluding the U.S. Postal Service, decreased by 2,800 last month while the Postal Service lost 1,600 jobs in May, after gaining 800 jobs in April. The federal government, including the Postal Service, lost 3,000 jobs in April and about 9,000 in March.
Monthly fluctuations mean the jobs situation for the federal government has remained relatively unchanged for a while, but long-term data reveal a federal workforce that is slowly shrinking. The federal government shed 63,000 jobs between May 2013 and May 2014, according to BLS.
The civilian workforce, excluding the Postal Service, has hovered around 2.1 million for the past few years, with the most federal employees in California; Texas; Virginia; and Washington, D.C. Sequestration, an increasing number of federal retirements, more buyouts, and hiring freezes at many agencies have contributed to the reduction in federal jobs.
Government at all levels -- federal, state and local -- gained 1,000 jobs overall in May primarily because of increased employment in local government, which added 11,000 jobs last month. State government jobs fells by 5,000 in May as well.
The U.S. economy overall (total nonfarm payroll employment) added 217,000 jobs in May, and unemployment was 6.3 percent, the same as in April. Employment increased in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, food services and drinking places, and transportation and warehousing.