The small agency that’s hearing appeals of almost 33,000 federal workers furloughed after the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration took effect in 2013 is officially reporting that 99.5 percent of the employees have lost their cases.

This is not a huge surprise. The likely outcome of the appeals was predictable from the start. Agencies have demonstrated that the furloughs, most of which were imposed at the Department of Defense, were reasonable responses to budget cuts and promoted what in government-speak is called the “efficiency of the service.”

The Merit Systems Protection Board, whose administrative judges have been hearing the cases for more than a year, issued data about the appeals last week in its annual performance plan. As of last October, the agency had adjudicated about a third of the pending cases. Of those, 20 percent were dismissed and another 1 percent were settled.

Unions representing federal employees had urged their furloughed members to file appeals to recover back pay; the lost income was a hardship for thousands of workers.

Administrative judges have reversed the furloughs in just 44 cases, mostly for employees who proved either that colleagues in their offices with similar jobs were not furloughed, or that their salaries were not authorized by Congress.

Most federal offices and members of Congress long ago moved on from the spending cuts known as sequestration that Congress forced on the government starting in March 2013. Seven agencies furloughed more than 770,000 employees for one to seven days during sequestration, the largest number of them Defense Department civilians forced to take up to six days of unpaid leave in the summer of 2013.

But for  thousands of employees who appealed and for employees at the Merit Systems board who are still slogging through the cases, it could be another year or more before the docket is clear.