Approximately 3,100 federal workers -- many in the Washington area -- are targeted to be fired for economy reasons between now and the end of January. If they are, it will bring the total number of federal workers fired between January 1981 and the end of January 1982 to about 8,400.

Most of the workers who are facing the ax are with the Public Health Service, which has taken the heaviest cuts in personnel this year. PHS is anticipating layoffs that will hit 2,100 workers between now and January, most of them in headquarters and regional management jobs, including 150 from the Office of Human Development Services.

Other cuts in the works between now and the end of January include 128 people in Federal Crop Insurance programs, 200 workers in elementary and secondary education within the Department of Education; as many as 328 Labor Department aides; 143 separations from the U.S. Marshal Service in Justice; 14 people with the National Transporation Safety Board; 20 jobs in the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, another 20 field jobs in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

RIFs this year, because of congressional budget cutbacks, hit 2,856 people from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30; 2,368 between Oct. 1 and the end of November (mostly in Energy and the Community Services Administration); and 3,103 projected RIFs between now and Jan. 31.

Ironically as the RIF lists grow, the prospect of immediate furloughs diminishes. Congress is supposed to come up with a new Reagan-approved stopgap funding bill by mid-month that could mean some new cuts for some programs. The new budget President Reagan sends up in mid-January will (subject to congressional approval) spell out his plans to cut 75,000 federal jobs over the next couple of years. Many of those cuts can be made by attrition if agencies freeze or slow hiring. But some departments and agencies will be forced to make additional RIFs early next year -- on top of the 3,100 they anticipate over the next few weeks.