Federal workforce shrinks even as overall jobs picture improves

The federal government has fared worse than the overall economy this year in terms of employment, losing workers while other sectors ticked upward, according to government data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

(Nicholas Kamma/AFP-Getty Images) (Nicholas Kamma/AFP-Getty Images)

Economists described the November jobs report as a sweeping win, with the U.S. economy adding 203,000 jobs while the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent — for once, the latter number was not attributed to a shrinking labor force.

But the federal government shed 7,000 jobs last month, which comes as sobering news for the federal workforce. What’s worse is that the numbers have declined all year, meaning November is not an outlier.

Total federal employment, including the military and Postal Service, has dropped 0.32 percent per month on average so far this year, according to BLS data. That compares to an average increase of 0.17 percent per month for the private sector and 0.12 percent per month for the overall economy.

Even without the Postal Service, the numbers do not look good for the federal government. Federal employment excluding postal workers has declined by an average of 0.3 percent per month so far this year.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestion.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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Josh Hicks · December 6, 2013