No one to be surprised when President Trump applied a hiring freeze. Throughout many government agencies, the wide freeze lugged hiring come a screeching halt. Together the freeze to be lifted, and agency heads to be given more authority to decision when and also whether to fill jobs, most observers of government expected hiring to get earlier to normal. After all, many hiring freezes have actually been little more than political theater. Typically, they are intended to attend to a momentary money crunch or to send a article to that the government is being reined in.

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So--was this one political theater? did it actually make a distinction in the number of people top top the federal government payroll? Or is everything ago to normal when it involves hiring in the federal sector? The most current publicly available data comes from Fedscope, terrific site operation by the United says Office that Personnel monitoring (OPM). Fedscope offers historical data and current employed numbers v the finish of September 2017. If we look at raw numbers, the commonwealth workforce has dropped from2,093,868 employees at the end of December 2016 to2,087,747 through September 2017, which breaks down to loss of 6,121 (0.29%) employees — not a substantial impact for a two-million-person workforce.

But this is just one of those instances in which the raw numbers can be misleading.

The top-line numbers encompass both permanent and also temporary employees. Throughout spring and also summer, we typically see large increases in the variety of temporary employees as a result of seasonal work. As soon as we take the temporary tasks out of the mix and also look just at the irreversible workforce, we check out a various picture.

The irreversible workforce of1,962,965 dropped by 15,917 to1,947,048. The is a decrease of 0.81 percent--still not a substantial drop, however significant.The snapshot changes even much more when we prevent looking at the full government numbers and start considering shifts on one agency-by-agency level, whereby we check out some numbers that are predictable and some that are surprising. Right here is a look at irreversible employee numbers for the cabinet and large agencies:


Now the numbers get even more interesting. We see that five agencies room actually growing a bit. OPM, v a mix of appropriated and also revolving money dollars, included employees. Their spending plan documents show that that modernization is a big priority (for obvious reasons). The room of Veterans work is growing to satisfy the raised demands because that veteran benefits and also health matters. The department of Homeland defense is growing since of the increased focus on border security.

Most agencies room within a percent or 2 of last year. The biggest surprise was the the room of Defense’s fall in long-term civilian employees, extending across the military departments and the defense agencies. Department of Commerce, the department of Housing and Development, environmental Protection Agency, and also Department that State saw significant cuts. The room of Labor, general Services Administration, and others witnessed reductions of 4 percent or more. The room of the Treasury come in v a palliation of 7.45 percent, the largest of any kind of cabinet level or huge agency. In ~ the Treasury, the internal Revenue service experienced a network loss that 6,801 long-term workers, or a chuck 8.6 percent that its long-term workforce. The IRS now has around 17,000 fewer employees 보다 it had actually at the finish of the George W. Bush management in 2008, and the precipitous drop has solicited its same share of concern. As he transitioned out of his duty as IRS Commissioner previously this month, john Koskinen warned versus cuts this severe: “If friend think you have the right to run this firm with 20,000 fewer world with 10 million much more taxpayersand every the obligations we have, girlfriend live in a different world than ns do.”


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The top-line number obscure the fact that the combination of the hiring freeze, budget pressure, and restructuring are having a far-reaching impact on some agencies. Those we could expect to grow, favor Defense, are actually shrinking.

Although we typically think Congress drives employment numbers v the budget, the reality is the agencies actually have actually a lot of of regulate over exactly how they spend money. Many appropriations do not put a statutorily mandated floor top top the variety of employees. If an agency or an administration as a totality wants to mitigate the size of the commonwealth workforce, it can. TheImpoundment manage Actputs some limitations on an administration"s capability to impound appropriated dollars. Enforcement of the action would require an agency to invest money – however not necessarily on federal employees. Together we have currently seen, the executive branch has large authority come act ~ above its own.

The best method to controlling the size of the commonwealth workforce is for Congress to pass a timely spending plan every year, and also specify the range of employees an company would be supposed to maintain. We have actually not seen passage that a fashionable budget and also appropriations bills because the critical millennium, so i am not confident that us will watch that happen any time soon.

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Over the next couple of weeks, we’re acquisition a look earlier at the large developments in the federal hiring and also human resources room in 2017. Stay tuned for more analysis that the previous year and insights right into what 2018 may host for the industry. What’s your take ~ above the impact of the rental freeze? Tell us what friend think top top Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.