After a rapid expansion in the federal government workforce during President Barack Obama’s first term, the size of the workforce is slowly beginning to shrink, the Washington Post reports.
Data from the Office of Personnel Management reveals that around 158,000 employees have joined the federal workforce since Obama first stepped into the White House, not counting military and postal workers.
This amounts to a total increase of 9.4 percent, which peaked in 2011, and is far greater than the expansion under President George W. Bush’s tenure. During the same time period, an additional 4.5 million jobs were created in the overall economy, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this only represents an increase of 3.3 percent.
This means that at the beginning of Obama’s presidency, federal agencies were adding on employees at a significantly higher rate than the rest of the economy, although recently this trend has started to reverse.
Between 2011 and 2013, the federal government let go 26,000 employees, and this trend is not expected to reverse. In fact, the BLS is projecting that the federal workforce will see a marked decline for the next nine years, with the total number of employees dropping by 13 percent.
This exceeds the amount that Republican candidate Mitt Romney pushed for while campaigning for the 2012 presidential election. He argued for a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce, in order to improve government efficiency.
Public employee unions remain opposed to the cuts, pointing out that the demand on government to provide essential services is greater than ever. Concerned about misrepresentation of data, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury of Employees Union argue that the metric of worker-to-population ratio is the best way to see if the government is appropriately staffed.
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