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The True Size of the Federal Workforce

Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post does some number-crunching today, trying to get a handle on the size of the federal workforce relative to the population of the country as a whole. He uses figures for the total federal workforce (including postal workers, who are often left out of the equation in such calculations).

The bottom line? Uncle Sam's workforce is shrinking relative to the U.S. population:

  • 1962: 2.48 million feds, or 13.3 percent of a total population of 186.5 million
  • 2010: 2.65 million feds, or 8.4 percent of a total population of 310.3 million

I should note that while, under these calculations, the total federal employment figure is higher today than four decades ago, at several points in the intervening years, it was higher than it is today. Even during the height of the small-government Reagan years, for example, the figure stood at 2.77 million.