Uncle Sam Sheds More Jobs in November

Federal workforce slowly shrinks.

The federal government lost 7,000 jobs in November, continuing a downward trend in federal employment, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Federal jobs, excluding the Postal Service, decreased by about 3,700 in November, while the Postal Service lost roughly 2,400 jobs last month. Uncle Sam shed 18,000 jobs alone in September and October. The 16-day government shutdown in October did not have “any discernible” impact on overall employment, hours or earnings that month, BLS has said.

The long-term data reveal a federal workforce that is slowly shrinking: The federal government has lost 92,000 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, 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 7,000 jobs overall in November because of increased employment in state government, which added 8,000 jobs in November, and local government, which gained 6,000.

The size of the federal government’s total workforce, including military service members, the Postal Service and the legislative and judicial branches, actually is projected to decrease under President Obama’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.

The U.S. economy overall (total nonfarm payroll employment) added 203,000 jobs in November, and unemployment was 7 percent, a decrease from 7.3 percent in October. Employment increased in transportation and warehousing, health care, and manufacturing.

(Image via Lightspring/