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How many federal workers are there?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Remember last week when Congressional Republicans proposed freezing federal hires in order to cut back on government spending? The cuts would mean fewer workers receiving generous pay and benefits, they said. But opponents argued that the government can't afford to cut back and that most of the new federal jobs are in the national security and defense sectors where Republicans wouldn't cut anyway.

Still others noted that the size of the federal workforce compared to the overall U.S. population has dropped steadily since the 1960s, thanks to a booming population and cutbacks made during the Reagan and Clinton years.

So how many federal workers are there really?

Differing ways of measuring federal employment produce different counts. One method, commonly used in federal budgeting, is to calculate "full-time equivalent" positions, or FTEs, on a fiscal year basis. A full-time employee working the entire year would count as one FTE, as would, for example, two part-time employees each working half-time. Another method, used in the Office of Personnel Management's FedScope database, counts all employees who are in pay status as of the end of each calendar quarter.

The Eye's method of tallying up the workers uses figures from George W. Bush's administration that tallied the total number of Executive Branch employees -- including U.S. Postal Service workers -- and determined the number of federal workers per 1,000 Americans.

In order to establish a somewhat fair administration-to-administration comparison, The Eye compared workforce totals from the first full calendar year of a president's term, starting with John F. Kennedy.

We'll take a deeper dive into other personnel stats in the coming days, but check out today's figures and leave your thoughts in the comments section below:

Federal Government Employment Levels Through the Years (including the U.S. Postal Service)

Executive Branch civilians Total U.S. population Executive Branch employees per 1,000 population
1962 (Kennedy) 2.48 million 186.5 million 13.3
1964 (Johnson) 2.47 million 191.8 million 12.9
1970 (Nixon) 2.94 million* 205 million 14.4
1975 (Ford) 2.84 million 215.9 million 13.2
1978 (Carter) 2.87 million 222.5 million 12.9
1982 (Reagan) 2.77 million 232.1 million 11.9
1990 (Bush) 3.06 million* 249.6 million 12.3
1994 (Clinton) 2.9 million 263.1 million 11.1
2002 (Bush) 2.63 million 287.8 million 9.1
2010 (Obama) 2.65 million+ 310.3 million+ 8.4+

SOURCE: Office of Management and Budget. *= Figure includes temporary Census Bureau workers. += Estimates by OMB and U.S. Census Bureau.

Researcher Eric Yoder contributed to this report.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: Jimmy Carter's hospital extended extended. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) keeps her hold on OMB nominee Jack Lew.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:

Grisly allegations in war-crimes probe of Army Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs: The war-crimes investigation is the gravest to confront the Army in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Virginia fights cuts to defense: Plans to downsize the military presence in Old Dominion have sharpened political rhetoric in an already hotly contested race.

For parents of war dead, the combat doesn't end: The conclusion of combat operations in Iraq this month can't ease the grief for one mother.

FCC:

Republicans pull plug on net neutrality bill: A Congressional impasse puts new pressure on the agency to take up the matter.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY:

Panel approves federal building security bill: A Senate committee unanimously approved legislation Wednesday designed to strengthen the agency charged with protecting 9,000 federal buildings.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:

Government: Times Square bomber plotted 2nd attack: Faisal Shahzad should get life in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 5, prosecutors said in a filing.

STATE DEPARTMENT:

State Department doubling mental health counselors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Only from one to two in each country. Mental health experts believe that even the additional counselors are inadequate to deal with the needs of diplomats deployed in war zones.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | September 30, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Comments


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Posted by: brayden29 | September 30, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

I've been a fed for more than 17 years. I do think the bureaucracy is too big and that the USG could easily shave off a few hundred thousand employees. I work in an office of about 30 people. We have about 5 employees who do very little (as in most federal offices I bet) and could be let go. We wouldn't miss a beat. Too bad managers don't have the ability to make decisions like this. Part of the problem is the inability to fire federal employees. Unions have a share of the blame along with far too many civil service protections. We've been trying to fire an employee for 2 years now. He'll end up outlasting many of our managers who seem to move on and up. The system needs some fixing.

Posted by: RB1019 | September 30, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

I've been a fed for more than 17 years. I do think the bureaucracy is too big and that the USG could easily shave off a few hundred thousand employees. I work in an office of about 30 people. We have about 5 employees who do very little (as in most federal offices I bet) and could be let go. We wouldn't miss a beat. Too bad managers don't have the ability to make decisions like this. Part of the problem is the inability to fire federal employees. Unions have a share of the blame along with far too many civil service protections. We've been trying to fire an employee for 2 years now. He'll end up outlasting many of our managers who seem to move on and up. The system needs some fixing.

Posted by: RB1019 | September 30, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Your computation theories may be flawed. Even though there are FTE's, many of these positions are unfilled open positions. Meaning the agency has the authorization for a position but because of current slow or non=existent hiring practices by the personnel office. At one time we had 25 out of 96 positions vacant awaiting a body but had to wait 15 - 18 months for someone to fill the vacancy. All the while these were paid FTR's but not filled.

Posted by: CaptMidnight | September 30, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Agree with the second writer: I retired from the VA - professional status in mental health - and my position remains unfilled but still counted as a FTE. The VA both throughout the country in delivery systems, regional offices, and the central office in DC have varying degrees of turnover and retirement but many positions remain unfilled. Some due to their locale and a specific profession to fill the position may not be available. The search often has to be started anew after an an employee is hired but is let go within the first year of probation for various reasons and the search would begin anew. The federal govt is slowed by union involvement and the process for removing a less than productive or compliant employee and as such the union is abusing their status in representing workers where [extreme] documentation is necessary to remove someone but then they are often shuffled off to another position where the cycle begins anew. Nevertheless, anyone working within the federal govt appreciates that the vast majority of workers are overworked generally more due to unfilled positions in their departments. The overall hiring process esp for vetting professionals or obtaining approvals from higher ups is the worse impediment to positions being filled. It would only be a naive' and unknowing Republican to make the statement of the govt being overly staffed, esp as they envision all govt workers existing in this area vs govt employees generally existing in all states.

Posted by: davidmswyahoocom | September 30, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Capt, you are confusing FTEs with authorized employees. The FTE numbers total the hours worked. Since Reagan, an agency had to be under both the FTE numbers and the authorized employee numbers at the end of the FY.

I agree, it is too hard to fire employees after the probationary period. We fired one in her last month of probation since we thought she would be an ongoing problem. If we had a 3-5 year probationary period, we would have given her more of a chance to mature and get her act together. But, after probation, you are married to them, so, out the door she went.

Posted by: kamdog | September 30, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Freezing federal employee hires is just a shell game played by the parties as they come into/leave power. The amount of work performed by the Gov is always going up, never down. So, the incoming power group "freezes" feds while funneling more money to contractors to do the same job. It actually costs the taxpayer more since the Beltway Bandits must pay the employees with big benefits, pay additional contract managers, then charge for their profit.

Anyone really looking at the numbers knows contract employees cost the taxpayer 50% more than having Fed workers do the same job. Look thru all the A-76 studies.

Posted by: 53dville | September 30, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

A true counting of Federal employees would have to include the employees of contractors doing business with the government. Some agencies and departments reduce the number of actual Federal employees through retirements and attrition,only to contract out the same job the exemployee was doing, and maybe at a higher cost to the Government. It still costs the taxpayer as much or more.

Posted by: STRAIGHTTALK5 | September 30, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

A true counting of Federal employees would have to include the employees of contractors doing business with the government. Some agencies and departments reduce the number of actual Federal employees through retirements and attrition,only to contract out the same job the exemployee was doing, and maybe at a higher cost to the Government. It still costs the taxpayer as much or more.

Posted by: STRAIGHTTALK5 | September 30, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The federal government has too much middle management. There are too many manager that aren't directly fulfilling the needs of the agency. Those people also happen to be the highest paid people. It is not uncommon in our agency to have a 3 employees to 1 manager ratio.

Counting only executive agencies leaves out all the legislative and judicial federal employees.

Posted by: bperk420 | September 30, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Two questions:

1. If the number of civilian employees has remained relatively constant, what about total salary + benefits (COL-adjusted)?

2. What about the distribution of civilian employees between DoD and the rest of the executive?

Posted by: lichtenmj | September 30, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

How many Federal workers are there? The answer depends on how you count. Do you count those that actually do some work or do you only count those that do some useful work? Or do you count all of those who draw pay checks? In any event the answer is too many.

Posted by: jdonner2 | September 30, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

To compare FTE to actual workers on site is really two different things. FTE is a full time paid position that is not always filled but is funded to be filled. Actual workers is the real number of worker who come to work each day. I've been working as a Federal employee for nine years now and in my office we have 36 FTE authorized. For the last eight years we have not filled 13 positions but each year we are funded for the full 36 positions. Each year the money that was not used in the pay accounts goes back to the General Fund. The workers who are on hand do many different jobs to make up for the lack of filled positions. I was doing three full time jobs for over four years when I left they hired three new people to do the three jobs I was doing. I was always busy and needless to say these three jobs did get done but it was always jumping from one to the other hot issues to keep things going. The job were done the best I could given the load I was under. I took a new job and they hired three new people to replace me to do the jobs that I was doing by myself. We all make do with what we have on hand to get the job done but sometimes management does not do it's part. The FTE or positions are there because the work load is there to not fill slots only puts the burden on other workers and in the process neither job gets done in the manner it should be done. We are in lean times now and I understand we have to do more but it's also not responsible to over work your employee. I always had lose or use leave that I could never use due to the hours I had to work to keep things flowing. I had many comp hours on the books from all the extra hours worked each day. I worked 12-14 hours shifts and sometimes 7 days a week to keep things going. In the end it just became too much and it became time to move on to something different. One thing I can say it was always interesting each day and I never really knew what was going to come up. The stress level was high all the time and for the most part I did enjoy the work but there were days... Maybe there are some workers who don't have full time jobs and if so I sure wish they could have come over to give me a hand.

Posted by: Concerned5 | September 30, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Most of the recent influx of FTE's are former contractors (for the USG) starting after their firms' contracts were dropped. You cannot imagine the number of former contractors onboarding now that those contracts have been let go.

So when it is reported that there are 180,000 or so new federal employees, I would say a very large percentage are simply individuals that were contractors that are now feds.

So these stats are meaningless outside of political campaigns.

Posted by: adriennemichael | September 30, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Your figures are deceiving.

1) How many new federal employees has Obama added and in what agencies?

2) we have a report that federal employees owe ONe Billion dollars to the IRS in back taxes but they have refused to enter into a payment arrangement? why are they getting away with this?


who in this country owes taxes and is not paying?

break it down by zip codes and then by employer ie fed or state, medical or school employee


3) Tell us how many federal workers are not citizens how long wre they in this country before they got their job and where do they work ( yesterday Knandi radio program I learned that some activist from another country worked for the senate fiance comm recently what is going on when in a recession ( depression) a recent college raduate in this country is not chosen and a foreign international is?


4) how many immigrants have been allowed in htis country since Obama came into office. My county is being flooded with immigratns and surprisingly they are working.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | September 30, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

A true counting of Federal employees would have to include the employees of contractors doing business with the government. Some agencies and departments reduce the number of actual Federal employees through retirements and attrition,only to contract out the same job the exemployee was doing, and maybe at a higher cost to the Government. It still costs the taxpayer as much or more.

Posted by: STRAIGHTTALK5 | September 30, 2010 9:07 AM

In contracting, the government gets charged a cost, not a headcount. Any contractor head count would be somewhat arbitrary. In some cases you might be able to have an actual count. For example, soldiers used to clean the latrines or completely staff the messes. I suppose we could give a headcount on the contractors that fill those positions now especially overseas or combat zone. The salary for a private may be less than the cost of the contractor, but how much does it cost to train a private. The "overhead" for the military is going to be a lot higher than it is for the contractor.

Plus, you don't actually anyone is going to stand up in the GOP and suggest we cut private contractor pay do you?

Posted by: James10 | September 30, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I currently work for the VA and resent it when people tell me that I should appreciate my "good government job" and then remind me that their tax dollars pay my salary. Well, I pay taxes too so am I paying my own salary? If so, it sure does shrink before I get it back. And...this is the hardest and most non-stop job I have ever had. There are so many more Veterans than there are people to provide the services they need...and that number is growing every day. I love what I do and I love the population I work with but I say that as I am drowning every day in overwhelming oversight and regulation of my practice all because everyone thinks they need to micromanage a government employee.

Posted by: TerRoz | September 30, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Just curious to find out how many contractors it has taken to replace the federal positions we have lost.

Posted by: mickey72552 | September 30, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Not enough to get any High Speed Rail built.

Second Mickey's question...how many contractors does it take to fill one fed's job?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | September 30, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

You can find statistics to prove anything - 40% of people know that.

I also don't understand this "executive branch employee." Is that everyone but congress and judges? What about administrative judges?

Posted by: wwc4g | September 30, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

John Adams,
I don't think you want to know the answers to your questions. Just go back to the warm comforting glow of fear that faux news provides you.

Posted by: booerns14 | September 30, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I am worked for both the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Social Security has half the number of employees that they did in the 1960s. CMS responsibilities have increased dramatically in the past 10 years and still only 4,200 people to run an $800 billion program. Any of the 5 biggest private insurers have considerably more employees to run much smaller programs. One important question that is seldom asked or identified is how many private contractors now work for the Federal Government? These contractors are what I call the shadow government. There are many more contractors than there are federal employees.

Posted by: Nightsurfer | September 30, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

If you're going to associate a president with a fed employment number, then you should use the LAST year of the presidency, not the first year. You are coupling a president to the level established by his predecessor. very misleading.

Posted by: NattyBump | September 30, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Nice try, but ultimately the data displayed is not very useful.
1. Lumping postal and other federal workers obscures any attempt at analysis. A decent analysis starts with different metrics to evaluate changes in the number of postal workers (e.g., number of pieces of mail delivered) versus non-postal workers.
2. A better metric for non-postal workers would be programs managed in constant dollars rather than population.
Even better for an agency like the Social Security Administration would be number of clients served, which has grown greatly since the Kennedy Presidency. And, as noted above, the number of SSA employees has decreased over the years.
3. If the Republican proposal is to freeze non-defense workers, it would be useful to compare the growth in defense vs. non-defense. Incidentally, do the Republicans really want to put a freeze on the SSA? Or is their proposal the equivalent of using a meat axe for brain surgery?

Posted by: StoreyRC | September 30, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

They are 544 Government workers that have worn their welcomes out! Its time to fire all of them like the 45 million that got fired an layed off with no pension or health care. Same should happen to them! We don't need you anymore! Each State to handle there own Business Affairs! No More Government they are all far too gone CORRUPT!

Posted by: JWTX | September 30, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

They are 544 Government workers that have worn their welcomes out! Its time to fire all of them like the 45 million that got fired an layed off with no pension or health care. Same should happen to them! We don't need you anymore! Each State to handle there own Business Affairs! No More Government they are all far too gone CORRUPT!

Posted by: JWTX | September 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

They are 544 Government workers that have worn their welcomes out! Its time to fire all of them like the 45 million that got fired an layed off with no pension or health care. Same should happen to them! We don't need you anymore! Each State to handle there own Business Affairs! No More Government they are all far too gone CORRUPT!

Posted by: JWTX | September 30, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

1. How many contractors?
2. How many retirees and their dependents collecting pensions?

Posted by: win_harrington | September 30, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

JWTX,

HUH?

Posted by: Arggg | September 30, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Remember all the "contracting out" push in the 80's and 90's. Well millions of contractor personnel took previously government-staffed positions. It was the DoD way of showing a decrease in personnel by putting the cost into services rather than labor, overhead. Of course, it wasn't a decrease in labor but it still fools the media and taxpayers. The government is gaining more staffing every year...especially under this administration and with health care and more intrusion into the lives of ordinary people, the government will hire many more...all with the absolute approval of the MSM, a really unsophisticated group of people these days. They know how to twit and play with iphones and ipads, but they know nothing about reporting unless it's a feed from the WH. The Republicans will not complain about the increase in contractor personnel because it increases the bottom line of Defense contractors....the Dems are too ivy league superior...ignorant in other words...to figure this out. So we're doomed.

Posted by: William18 | September 30, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

No Choice, They Must Go. Toyota runaway org recently made the statement that the Federal Government will have no choice but to get rid of federal workers after the fall elections. They also stated that President Obama would announce in the first half of 2011 that he will not seek a second term. The President has a lot of unpopular decision to make and according to Toyota Runaway Org cutting the federal work force is one of the primary upcoming decisions. Since the President is removing the obstacle of politics from his decisions he will be able to do what is right for the country without the threat of political consequences. Now everything I have read on that toyota runaway org site thus far has proven to be correct.

Posted by: Moley2 | September 30, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

This analysis is completely inadequate. We should see another chart alongside that shows the number of Federal contractor employees over the same time period. THAT is the real total of labor burden on the US taxpayer.

Posted by: _BSH | September 30, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Our government needs to continue to grow as our population increases. I think we need more more federal employees- especially in the areas that are underemployed such as Detroit or Atlanta. So basically I think we need more federal employees performing jobs that grow our outsourced economy. To do this I would eliminate some of the highly profitable contractors building weapons systems and killing technology.

Posted by: MajorFacemask | September 30, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I am somewhat bewildered by the computation of federal workers who are identified as civilians in the executive branch of government; if we are talking about the total number of federal employees, we should include the military, tje federal judiciary and its staffing, and the legislature and its staffing plus those under contract to perform these services for the federal government.

It would also be very helpful to include the computation of the number of workers in the last year of an administration as well as that of the first so that unsubstantiated claims about the relative growth of the work force under x, y, or z might be analyzed with recourse to facts.

Thus, I should have to say that the presentation is unsatisfactory and does not reflect a serious effort to gather the necessary information. Perhaps, Mr O'Keefe might hire a couple of staffers to run down this material.

Posted by: mini2 | September 30, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The Obama and federal government employee haters, will never allow the truth or the facts to interfere with their opinion.

Posted by: COWENS99 | September 30, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The Obama and federal government employee haters, will never allow the truth or the facts to interfere with their opinion.

Posted by: COWENS99 | September 30, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

As mini2 says: These are not ALL the federal employees. So what kind of number is this? Garbage in; garbage out!

Posted by: dragonlady45 | September 30, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

On the same page he got the numbers in this article, were these numbers: Executive = 2,774K; Military = 1,591K; Legislative & Judicial = 66K; for a total of 4,430,000 Federal Workers! So we're 14.3 per 1,000 ...

Posted by: dragonlady45 | September 30, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

We have ~ 1 1/2 million too many.

Posted by: illogicbuster | September 30, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

dragonlady wrote: "On the same page he got the numbers in this article, were these numbers: Executive = 2,774K; Military = 1,591K; Legislative & Judicial = 66K; for a total of 4,430,000 Federal Workers! So we're 14.3 per 1,000 ..."

Are you refering to the "Fedscope" page that he linked to. I didn't find the numbers for all these groups listed on the page. Nevertheless, you'll also have to compute the "total" number of federal workers for all the years listed in teh chart, and not just 2010. I think you'll find there is still a downward trend per 1,000 population.

Posted by: ezcheese81 | September 30, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse


I had to comment on this since it was laughable:
JohnAdams1 said
Your figures are deceiving.

1) How many new federal employees has Obama added and in what agencies?
- Actaually, the # of employees in down from the prior 8 year administration. Any specific reason you want to blame Obama? Look at OMB website.

2) we have a report that federal employees owe ONe Billion dollars to the IRS in back taxes but they have refused to enter into a payment arrangement? why are they getting away with this?
- Q1 - is this any higher than the general population and, if, not, why are you holdig them to a higher expectation.
- Q2 - Wouldn't you rather have someone behind in their taxes actually helping by being a civil employee for our country's benefit?
-Q3 - when you say, " they have refused to enter into a payment arrangement", since they are INDIVIDUALS, where do you get the idea "They" have been collectively contacted for arrangements", Like all those "Home owners" or "graduates with loans".

who in this country owes taxes and is not paying?
- Great question. Do you think this answer changes under a D admin to an R amdin? Don't think so.

3) Tell us how many federal workers are not citizens how long wre they in this country before they got their job and where do they work ( yesterday Knandi radio program I learned that some activist from another country worked for the senate fiance comm recently what is going on when in a recession ( depression) a recent college raduate in this country is not chosen and a foreign international is?
- Wow, so you are not too excited about hiring the most qualified candidate, just the white American? hmm, do you use this same logic for M vs W, or racial profiling? I would rather have a guy with 3 degrees and internships than just another college grad. Reality is the US is now ranked 11th in college graduation. The best and brightest who WANT to serve America aren't alwasy born in Indiana.


4) how many immigrants have been allowed in htis country since Obama came into office. My county is being flooded with immigratns and surprisingly they are working.
- Facts do not lie. Look at the Fd Border Patrol website and see that illegal crossings are DOWN from when Bush took over and Obama is doing more to fine/prosecute businesses. Why do you think there is a "flood".

Check your facts and leave your hatred for Obama at the door. You may dislike the balck guy, but own up to policies vs blame.

Posted by: cadam72 | September 30, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

wwc4G: "I also don't understand this "executive branch employee." Is that everyone but congress and judges? What about administrative judges?"

wwc4G, Executive Branch employees are Federal workers employed by the Executive Branch of the United States Government (essentially, reporting to the President), as opposed to Federal workers employed by the Legislative Branch (essentially, reporting to Congress) or the Judicial Branch (essentially, reporting to the U.S. Supreme Court). There are some small agencies of Government with reporting responsibilities that fall somewhere between two or three branches, but they do not employ that many people. By far, the largest employer is the Executive Branch. Besides the immediate offices of the President, in the Executive Branch you have agencies like DOD and the Department of the Treasury and State. The Legislative Branch has its own agencies and employees. Besides Congress itself, in the Legislative Branch you have agencies like the Libarary of Congress, GAO, and the Government Printing office). The Judicial Branch also has its own agencies. Besides the U.S. Courts, in the Judicial Branch you have agencies like the Administrative Offices of the United States Courts and the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Administrative Law Judges largely function within the Executive Branch of government. They handle controversies that arise in matters and proceedings before the Executive Branch in a "quasi-judicial" manner, but they do not judge cases in court.

Posted by: finserra | September 30, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, surely Fox & Frightwing radio will eagerly report there are FEWER government workers now than during the Bush Error.
Surely.
ha!

Posted by: angie12106 | October 1, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Any analysis like this is difficult- do you know how many different HR databases there are throughout government? Where do you draw the line between contractors that are doing exactly the job of a gov't FTE in that position as opposed to those hired on a project basis or doing more consulting type work? For many of legislative branch employees (like all the Congressional staffers), the salary and number of employees is at the discretion of the member of Congress, who can hire and pay what they want within their set budget- should we count them? Do we count funded positions or only ones that are actually filled? What about positions filled by flag officers? (ie, active duty military working in a civilian environment - extremely common throughout DoD) I admire any attempt to get to the bottom of this and while any one set of numbers isn't going to tell the whole story, the quest for a true headcount has to start somewhere.

Posted by: NatinFallsChurch | October 1, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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