The total federal workforce dropped by 14,000 employees in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said June 7, bringing the government’s staffing levels to its lowest point in more than five years.
May’s decline means federal payrolls — including U.S. Postal Service workers — have now dropped by 45,000 over the last three months. There are now 2,748,000 federal employees in the government — the lowest since February 2008, when there were 2,747,000 federal workers. The federal workforce has now fallen 20 percent since its peak in May 2010, when there were 3,415,000 employees.
Non-postal federal workers dropped by 9,400 last month, bringing its 2.1 million-employee workforce to its lowest level since November 2009. And the Postal Service’s workforce dropped by 3,800 last month to 584,600 — its lowest point in at least a decade.
Budget crunches are primarily behind the swift decline in federal staffing. Most federal agencies are scrambling to enact swift spending cuts known as the sequester, and many have frozen hiring to give themselves more budget room. And several agencies — including the flailing Postal Service — have offered buyouts and early retirements in recent years to reduce their payroll.