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The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends April 19, 2011

The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends April 19, 2011

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Published by Jennifer Norris
Curtis W. Copeland
Specialist in American National Government
Curtis W. Copeland
Specialist in American National Government

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Published by: Jennifer Norris on Jan 05, 2013
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CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
The Federal Workforce: Characteristics andTrends
Curtis W. Copeland
Specialist in American National GovernmentApril 19, 2011
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govRL34685
 
The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and TrendsCongressional Research Service
Summary
Understanding the characteristics and trends of the federal workforce is important because,among other things, agencies accomplish their missions via that workforce. Total personnel costs(direct compensation and benefits) for all current and retired civilian and military federalemployees were estimated at nearly $590 billion in 2010. Current non-postal civilian personnelcosts in the executive branch alone were estimated at nearly $230 billion. According to Office of Personnel Management’s FedScope database, three Cabinet departments—the Departments of Defense (DOD), Veterans Affairs (DVA), and Homeland Security (DHS)—accounted for about60% of the 2.1 million executive branch civilian employees in December 2010. The duty stationsfor more than 35% of these employees were in four states (California, Virginia, Texas, andMaryland) and the District of Columbia, and DOD was the top federal employer in most states.DOD also employed more than 90% of federal civilian employees in foreign countries, and wasthe top federal employer in U.S. territories. The federal workforce grew by more than 350,000employees between 2000 (the low point during the last 12 years) and 2010, with the growthconcentrated in homeland security-related agencies, DOD, DVA, and the Department of Healthand Human Services. Civilian employment in other departments and agencies has declined since1998 (the first year in which FedScope data are available). Legislation has been introduced in the112
th
Congress (H.R. 657) that attempts to reduce the size of the federal workforce, but thelegislation exempts DOD, DVA, and DHS.The number of employees in blue-collar and clerical federal jobs declined between 1998 and2010, but the number of employees in professional and administrative jobs increased during thisperiod. The percentage of the federal workforce that was made up of minorities also increased,but the percentage that was women declined slightly. Although women and minorities representedan increasing portion of the growing professional and administrative groups, the representation of women and minorities in the Senior Executive Service was less than their presence in the overallworkforce. The federal workforce was somewhat older in 2010 than it was in 1998, but theaverage length of service declined from 15.2 years in 1998 to 13.5 years in 2010. The number of white-collar employees in the General Schedule pay system declined between 1998 and 2010,while the number of employees in single-agency pay systems increased (from 3.3% of theworkforce in 1998 to 15.4% in 2010). The average salary of the workforce was $74,817 in 2010,but average salaries varied substantially between and within federal agencies and pay systems.Most of the highest paid employees work in a few agencies and occupations.Although the federal workforce has grown somewhat in recent years, a 2006 study estimated thatthe “hidden” federal workforce of contractors and grantees grew by more than 50% between 1999and 2005, when it reportedly included more than 10.5 million jobs in 2005. That figure is almostfour times as large as the combined total of all three branches of government and the U.S. PostalService. Additional data on the contractor workforce may be available soon.This report will be updated when September 2011 data for the federal workforce becomeavailable.
 
The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and TrendsCongressional Research Service
Contents
Introduction................................................................................................................................1
 
Cost and Size of the Federal Workforce.................................................................................1
 
Federal Civilian Employment Data..............................................................................................4
 
Federal Civilian Employment by Agency..............................................................................5
 
Federal Civilian Employment by Location............................................................................6
 
Changes in the Size of the Federal Civilian Workforce..........................................................9
 
Pending Legislation......................................................................................................11
 
Types of Appointments and Work Schedules.......................................................................12
 
The Arrival and Departure of Federal Employees................................................................12
 
Separations...................................................................................................................13
 
Changes in Federal Occupational Categories.......................................................................14
 
Changes in the Demographic Characteristics of the Federal Civilian Workforce...................15
 
Representation of Minorities and Women......................................................................15
 
Age and Length of Service............................................................................................17
 
Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Systems and Average Pay..................................................19
 
Average Salary Differences...........................................................................................20
 
Highest Paid Federal Employees.........................................................................................21
 
Summary Observations.............................................................................................................23
 
Figures
Figure 1. Federal Civilian Workforce, December 2010................................................................5
 
Figure 2. Size of the Federal Civilian Workforce, 1998 to 2010.................................................10
 
Figure 3. Age Distribution of the Federal Civilian Workforce, September 1998 toDecember 2010......................................................................................................................18
 
Figure 4. Years of Service Distribution of the Federal Civilian Workforce, 1998 to 2010..........19
 
Tables
Table 1. Estimated Civilian and Military Personnel Compensation and Benefits, 2010.................2
 
Table 2. Trends in Federal Civilian Employment, 1994 -2009......................................................3
 
Table 3. Number of Direct and Indirect Federal Contract and Grant Jobs, 1999 and 2005.............4
 
Table 4. Number of Federal Civilian Employees by Department and Major IndependentAgency, December 2010..........................................................................................................6
 
Table 5. States With Largest Number of Federal Civilian Employees (Duty Stations),December 2010........................................................................................................................7
 
Table 6. Federal Civilian Employees in Foreign Countries and U.S. Territories by MajorDepartment or Agency, December 2010...................................................................................8
 
Table 7. Federal Civilian Employees in Foreign Countries and U.S. Territories by MajorCountries and Territories, December 2010................................................................................8
 

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