Metropolitan Washington, the bureaucracy's high-grade, high-paid home office will take most of the up-coming federal job cuts. Upper grade professionals and specialists are more likely to wind up in unemployment lines than are secretaries or clerks.
The latest layoff forecast issued by the Federal Government Services Task Force, a House-Senate unit set up to monitor the impact of budget cuts on people who people the government, indicates the Washington area --with 17 percent of the federal population -- will take more than 30 percent of the cuts coming from summer RIF's (reductions in force).
Nationwide, 18,055 feds will get layoff notices this summer and about 14,800 will lose their jobs. Locally, 5,705 will get the heart-stopping RIF letters and an estimated 4,455 will eventually be laid off.
Because of the nature of the up-coming RIF, aimed as much at specialized programs (like grants administration) as at people, many of those on the job hit list will be highly specialized professionals in mid-career with skills that make it hard to place them elsewhere.
Health and Human Services, with 34,500 workers in metropolitan Washington, expects to lay off 2,580 people, more than half the number of local government jobs to be abolished. Commerce will send out 1,400 RIF letters and fire 500 here. . . Transportation's RIF letters will go to 1,250, of whom 275 will probably be laid off. . . Justice is talking about laying off 200 people, HUD 65. . . Transportation's Safety Board will issue 9 RIF notices and lay off eight people.
National Science Foundation expects to issue 35 RIF notices and match it with 35 layoffs. . . Department of Energy will send RIF notices to 350 people and anticipates layoffs for 275.
Education Department plans 350 RIF notices to temporary workers, but does not anticipate layoffs. . .Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will send RIF letters to 120 people and make an estimated 24 layoffs. . . Consumer Product Safety Commission is talking about 90 RIF letters here and 35 actual layoffs.
General Services Administration plans 200 local RIF notices but no layoffs. . . National Credit Union will RIF 20 people. . . Appalachian Regional Commission here will lay off 92 people. . . National Endowment for the Arts will drop eight jobs. . . Agriculture will send out RIF notices to 300 people but does not anticipate any local layoffs. . . Interstate Commerce Commission is planning on eight RIF notices here and eight layoffs.
Agencies anticipating reductions have to target areas for the cuts, and then allow competition (based on length of service, veterans preference and type of jobs being abolished) to determine who stays and who is bumped out in the cold.
One of the hardest hit agencies is the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration, a part of HHS. It is under the gun to reduce 467 of its 1,800 jobs. It anticipates that a significant number of the cuts will be in middle- and upper-grade jobs ranging from Grade 11 (42 slots) through Grade 15 which will take 24 cuts. Nearly 70 jobs at Grade 12 will be abolished, and 72 cutbacks at the Grade 13 level are anticipated.
Some agencies, like Federal Communications Commission, must cut jobs but believe they can avoid layoffs because they have frozen hiring, and because they have had unusually high turnover rates (25 percent last year at FCC) when many workers retired to take advantage of cost-of-living raises that are higher, and more frequent, than regular pay raises. The retirement rate in agencies over the next couple of months is critical, and many hope to reduce layoffs through attrition.