Metropolitan Washington, which has taken about a quarter of all budget-inspired U.S. job cuts, was hit especially hard in March, when 505 employes--about 22 every working day--were RIFfed.

Although 87 percent of the federal work force is located outside the Washington metropolitan area, only 201 feds were fired in the field during the month of March, the latest period for which figures are available.

U.S. officials think the worst of the RIFs is over for now. That is because agencies are too deep into the fiscal year (it started in October) to save money by firing.

Because of heavy first-year costs associated with RIFs--severance pay, lump-sum leave payments and unemployment benefits that are charged to the employer--agencies prefer to do their firing early in the fiscal year. Most of the economizing for the remainder of this fiscal year will be in the form of furloughs and hiring freezes.

Based on specific RIF notices in hand, federal job watchers estimate that only 194 workers here (and 1,232 in the field) will be fired for economy reasons between now and the end of September.

Since January 1981, when the RIFfing began, 8,914 federal workers (including 2,268 here) have been RIFfed out of their jobs.