Is the Federal Civilian Workforce Really Growing? Some Important Context

Congress’s investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), recently released its latest analysis of the executive branch’s civilian government workforce, and it shows a modest increase between 2004 to 2012. However, the GAO’s analysis does not take into account workforce reductions of around 70,000 in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). When the 28,000 full-time equivalent reductions from 2011 to 2012 are included, there has been a contraction of the federal civilian workforce of around 100,000 in the last three years.1 The report also leaves out significant context, which might lead readers to draw somewhat different conclusions about how the federal workforce has changed over time.

While the report makes it clear that only three agencies are responsible for the lion’s share of growth, significant context is missing, namely: longer-term trends suggest a different picture of public-sector growth, and for-profit federal contract employees are not counted in these numbers. In particular, the picture can change significantly when contractors are included. One also has to dive into GAO’s report to discover that most of the modest federal civilian workforce growth occurred between 2007 and 2009 and that numerous government agencies shrunk. Continue reading “Is the Federal Civilian Workforce Really Growing? Some Important Context”

Don’t Go, Please Stay

Don’t Go, Please Stay

  • By Tammy FlanaganFebruary 6, 2014

Last week’s column, To Stay or Not to Stay in Government, which featured my advice to a federal manager considering a jump to the private sector, hit a nerve with many readers. The benefits of a full career of federal employment and service came through loud and clear in the comments from readers of the column. In addition to the benefits that I pointed out, readers came up with additional reasons to look before you leap away from a career in federal service. There is something to be said about hearing these words of wisdom from those who have been there and are reaping the rewards of a federal career. Here’s a summary of what they had to say.

Advantages of Government

Reasons commenters listed for sticking it out in federal service included: Continue reading “Don’t Go, Please Stay”

SSA offering early-outs in 2014

SSA offering early-outs in 2014

Friday – 1/31/2014, 2:00am EST

The Social Security Administration, one of the government’s biggest, best-known operations, is offering older, long-time employees the chance to take early retirement.

SSA is well-known to most Americans, and with 60,000 employees, SSA is one of the largest federal agencies. By some estimates, nearly half of the agency’s workers would be eligible for early-retirement.

The early-out, one of the first this year in government, could open up the promotion pipeline for younger, mid-career employees and jump-start early retirement offers in other agencies too.

SSA’s early-out is for employees who are at least 50-years-old with 20 years of federal/military service, or to anyone with 25 years of service regardless of age. Continue reading “SSA offering early-outs in 2014”

Social Security Administration Offers Early Retirement to Employees Again

Social Security Administration Offers Early Retirement to Employees Again

By Eric Katz 3:50 PM ET


The Social Security Administration once again will offer early retirement incentives to eligible employees this year as part of an ongoing effort to right-size its workforce, the agency announced Friday.

Employees who at least 50 years old with 20 years of federal service, or any employee with at least 25 years in federal government, are eligible to take advantage of SSA’s Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. SSA expects about 200 workers to accept the offer, said Kia Anderson, an agency spokeswoman. They have until May 9 to accept the offer and must separate from the agency by July 31. Continue reading “Social Security Administration Offers Early Retirement to Employees Again”

EPA, already shrinking, set to offer $25K buyouts

EPA, already shrinking, set to offer $25K buyouts

EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sees early-out programs as a way of realigning the workforce.

The Environmental Protection Agency is awaiting a green light for a significant early-out program, according to agency documents and a leader at one of the unions representing EPA workers.

The proposed offer, which would combine a standard early retirement package with buyouts worth up to $25,000, aims to trim about 1,000 employees, said John O’ Grady, president of the American Federation of Government Employees local that represents many EPA staff in the Chicago area. While the proposal is not agency-wide, it would affect 19 offices and locations around the country and target staff at the GS-13 through GS-15 levels, O’Grady said, adding that Office of Personnel Management approval is expected by the end of next week.

Bob Perciasepe, the EPA’s deputy administrator, could not be reached for comment Friday. But in an email to employees last month, Perciasepe said that early-outs “can be used to realign our workforce to meet changing mission requirements and move toward new models of work.” Continue reading “EPA, already shrinking, set to offer $25K buyouts”

%d bloggers like this: