Politics

Federal Workforce Reaches Pre-Sequestration Levels

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Federal employment numbers are at the highest level since the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration came into effect in 2013, according to the July jobs report from the Department of Labor.

The government workforce added 3,000 jobs in July, bringing the total number of federal employees to 2.79 million, according to the Friday jobs data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.(RELATED: July Jobs Report: Hiring Numbers Beat Expectations, Unemployment Rate Remains Unchanged)

Federal employment is now at the highest level since the controversial budget cuts known as sequestration came into effect in 2013. The government added a total of 41,000 new employees to the federal payroll so far in 2016. The increase in federal employment includes the U.S. Post Office, which employs 15,000 more people than at this time in 2016, GovExec reports.

The Budget Control Act, passed in 2011, mandated automatic spending caps on the federal agencies. Agencies would institute hiring freezes when spending approached the maximum budget for the year.

Federal agencies have not needed hiring freezes this year because projected government spending comes in under the caps set in the 2015 Budget Control Act. The federal government is authorized to spend a total of $1.15 trillion in 2016, not including emergency spending or overseas operations (like Afghanistan), the Congressional Budget Office said in their sequestration report in Dec., 2015.

The private sector jobs market rose only 1 percent over last year, but the Labor Department expects increases of up to 3.7 percent in the next three months, according to the jobs report.

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