In honor of Labor Day, here is Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman's holiday statement about the past, present and future of the American worker and some facts about the federal work force:
For more than 100 years, America has set aside a day to honor the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our nation.
On Labor Day 1999, we have much to celebrate: Our economy is booming. Our budget deficit is tamed. Inflation is in check. Our unemployment rate is at a 30-year low. . . .
But on this last Labor Day of the 20th century, we must also look ahead at the future of work and at the hopes and aspirations of the next generation of American working families. . . .
Our workplaces are undergoing rapid change. . . . Technology, globalization and new demographics are constantly redefining the nature of work. . . .
Change is as true for federal workers as it is for those in the corporate world. The old notion of a lifelong career in one occupation is the first to go. Instead, civil servants will move from job to job as generalists, ready to take on new tasks and new skills. Our training classes will be as much about how to change as teaching specific skills.
The federal work force has led the way in workplace flexibility and diversity. Collaborative teams cross the boundaries of geography and organizations through the use of technology. . . . The federal government is moving forward in the use of assistive technology to employ more workers with disabilities. We are more family-focused. . . .
We know that as changes come and years pass, three things remain constant: American workers . . . must have a balance between work and family, rising economic security, and workplaces that are safe and fair. Our challenge is to keep this foundation firm as we manage the changes.
Work must always be about more than just a paycheck, and that is especially true for our public servants. . . . Through work -- and working together -- we pave a path toward a better, more secure future.
Work force facts
Total number of federal employees: 2,666,000
Number of executive branch employees in 1993, when President Clinton took office: 2,856,000
Number of executive branch employees in 1999: 2,604,100
Number of federal employees in the Washington area: 331,200
Number of federal workers in the District: 185,500
Percentage of federal workers represented by a union: 39.4%
Percentage of federal workers who are women: 44.6%
Percentage of federal workers who are black: 19.9%
Percentage of black federal workers who are in professional, administrative or technical jobs: 56.6%
Average pay of federal workers in D.C. area: $60,895
Note: Postal Service and civilian Defense Department employees are included in these numbers, except for the average pay figures.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics