The Federal Jobs Picture Isn't Nearly as Rosy as the Overall Jobs Picture

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As the overall jobs outlook improved in September, employment at federal agencies remained stagnant.

Federal agencies lost roughly 2,000 jobs last month, with the total number of federal workers remaining close to 2.7 million, according to monthly data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday. Employment at the financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service – often the source of monthly declines in the federal workforce – stayed almost completely flat, while the rest of the federal government was responsible for the losses.

September’s numbers follow several months of either slight increases in federal employment, or no change. The trend over the past few years, however, has been that of a shrinking government. 

The general U.S. economy gained 248,000 jobs in September, according to BLS, and the unemployment rate dipped below 6 percent for the first time since 2008. State governments fared much better than the federal government, gaining 22,000 jobs last month. Local governments lost 8,000 jobs, however. Most of the state growth was in education-related jobs. 

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