The average length of time it takes federal agencies to hire new employees has dropped by more than two weeks, according to new government figures — a change that addresses the chief concern of job applicants.

Agencies took an average of 105 days to recruit and hire new workers, down from 122 days the year before, according to the Office of Personnel Management. In the past, it would take agencies up to 200 days to process a hire; 140 days was more common.

President Obama last year ordered agencies to accelerate the hiring process with the goal of eventually processing applications and hiring a new worker in no more than 80 days. The orders -- part of Obama’s push to make the government “cool again” -- stemmed from concerns that the government is missing out on recruiting highly-qualified applicants unwilling to wait more than six months for a final decision.

“All agencies are focused on achieving dramatic reductions in their overall hiring time and reducing hiring time to 80 calendar days for the most commonly filled positions,” OPM said this week in its annual performance report to Congress.

The federal government is also making good on another federal personnel goal: It is hiring more military veterans than ever before.

Veterans comprised about 25 percent of all new federal hires in the first nine months of fiscal 2010, up from 22 percent from the same period the year before. Obama has ordered 24 agencies to hire more veterans; 20 have done so, OPM said.