The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends

This report describes the characteristics and trends of the United States federal government workforce, which many consider to reflect the gender, racial, and ethnic diversity of the country as a whole.

The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Curtis W. Copeland Specialist in American National Government April 19, 2011 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL34685 CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends 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 federal employees were estimated at nearly $590 billion in 2010. Current non-postal civilian personnel costs 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 about 60% of the 2.1 million executive branch civilian employees in December 2010. The duty stations for more than 35% of these employees were in four states (California, Virginia, Texas, and Maryland) 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 was the top federal employer in U.S. territories. The federal workforce grew by more than 350,000 employees between 2000 (the low point during the last 12 years) and 2010, with the growth concentrated in homeland security-related agencies, DOD, DVA, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Civilian employment in other departments and agencies has declined since 1998 (the first year in which FedScope data are available). Legislation has been introduced in the 112th Congress (H.R. 657) that attempts to reduce the size of the federal workforce, but the legislation exempts DOD, DVA, and DHS. The number of employees in blue-collar and clerical federal jobs declined between 1998 and 2010, but the number of employees in professional and administrative jobs increased during this period. 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 represented an 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 overall workforce. The federal workforce was somewhat older in 2010 than it was in 1998, but the average 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 the workforce 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 that the “hidden” federal workforce of contractors and grantees grew by more than 50% between 1999 and 2005, when it reportedly included more than 10.5 million jobs in 2005. That figure is almost four times as large as the combined total of all three branches of government and the U.S. Postal Service. Additional data on the contractor workforce may be available soon. This report will be updated when September 2011 data for the federal workforce become available. Congressional Research Service The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends 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 to December 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 Independent Agency, 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 Major Department or Agency, December 2010 ...................................................................................8 Table 7. Federal Civilian Employees in Foreign Countries and U.S. Territories by Major Countries and Territories, December 2010................................................................................8 Congressional Research Service The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Table 8. Federal Civilian Workforce: September 1998 and December 2010 ............................... 11 Table 9. Federal Employees’ Type of Appointment and Work Schedule, December 2010 .......... 12 Table 10. Type of Federal Hiring by Type of Position, FY2010.................................................. 13 Table 11. Type of Separation From Federal Service by Type of Position, FY2010 ...................... 14 Table 12. Occupational Categories in the Federal Civilian Workforce, September 1998 and December 2010 ............................................................................................................... 14 Table 13. Percentage of the Federal Civilian Workforce, Women and Minorities, September 1998 and December 2010 ..................................................................................... 15 Table 14. Percentage of Federal Civilian Workforce Categories That Were Women, September 1998 and December 2010 ..................................................................................... 16 Table 15. Percentage of Federal Civilian Workforce Categories That Were Minorities, September 1998 and December 2010 ..................................................................................... 16 Table 16. Percentage of the Federal Civilian Workforce and the Senior Executive Service That Were Women and Minorities, December 2010 ................................................................ 17 Table 17. Employees in Major Federal Civilian Pay Systems, September 1998 and December 2010...................................................................................................................... 20 Table 18. Average Salaries for Selected Federal Departments and Agencies, December 2010 ...................................................................................................................................... 21 Table 19. Employees With Annual Salaries of $150,000 or More, by Department or Agency, December 2010 ........................................................................................................ 22 Contacts Author Contact Information ...................................................................................................... 24 Congressional Research Service The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Introduction The responsibilities of the federal government are carried out through its workforce, so understanding the characteristics and trends of that workforce is a critical part of understanding how the federal government can better accomplish its various missions. As the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in May 2008, The importance of a top-notch federal workforce cannot be overstated. The nation is facing new and more complex challenges in the 21st century as various forces are reshaping the United States and its place in the world.... To address these challenges, it will be important for federal agencies to change their cultures and create the institutional capacity to become high-performing organizations. This includes recruiting and retaining employees able to create, sustain, and thrive in organizations that are flatter, results-oriented, and externally focused and that collaborate with other governmental entities as well as with the private and nonprofit sectors to achieve desired outcomes.1 In 2001, however, GAO identified the management of the federal workforce as a governmentwide “high-risk” area because federal agencies lacked a strategic approach to workforce management that integrated those efforts with their missions and goals.2 Ten years later, strategic human capital management remains on GAO’s high-risk list.3 Understanding the federal workforce is also important for a variety of other reasons. Personnel costs for both current and former employees represent a substantial portion of many agencies’ budgets, and a significant portion of the total federal budget. Some federal agencies are major employers in certain states, and tens of thousands of federal employees work outside of the United States. The federal workforce is also expected by some to reflect the gender, racial, and ethnic diversity of the country as a whole. In addition, understanding recent changes in the overall size and composition of the federal workforce can indicate what changes may lie in the future. Cost and Size of the Federal Workforce Determining the size or cost of the federal workforce first requires a determination of what should be considered “the federal workforce,” and what are considered relevant costs associated with that workforce. Federal budget documents distinguish federal personnel costs in terms of (1) direct compensation (e.g., salaries and bonuses) versus personnel benefits (e.g, health benefits and life insurance), (2) civilian employees versus military employees, and (3) current employees versus retired employees. The documents also show costs specific to the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Defense (DOD), and separately show costs for the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. According to the FY2011 federal budget, and as shown in Table 1 below, total federal personnel costs (i.e., direct compensation and benefits) in 2010 for all groups (i.e., civilian and military, current employees, and retirees) were nearly $590 billion. Personnel costs (direct compensation 1 U.S. Government Accountability Office, Human Capital: Transforming Federal Recruiting and Hiring Efforts, GAO08-762T, May 8, 2008. 2 U.S. General Accounting Office, High Risk Series: An Update, GAO-01-263, January 2001. 3 U.S. Government Accountability Office, High Risk Series: An Update, GAO-11-278, February 2011. Congressional Research Service 1 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends plus benefits) for current civilian employees (including all three branches of government and the U.S. Postal Service) were nearly $295 billion. Current non-postal civilian personnel costs for just the executive branch were nearly $230 billion, with DOD constituting about 30% of that total. In comparison, personnel costs for the legislative and judicial branches were relatively small (just under $7 billion combined). Personnel costs for employees of the U.S. Postal Service are almost entirely funded by postal fees, not appropriations. Some federal regulatory agencies (e.g., the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission) are also entirely or primarily funded through fees rather than appropriations. Table 1. Estimated Civilian and Military Personnel Compensation and Benefits, 2010 (millions of dollars) Cost Direct Compensation Personnel Benefits Total Personnel Costs Department of Defense (DOD) $53,743 $15,560 $69,303 Executive Branch—Non-DOD $114,182 $45,996 $160,178 Postal Service $37,832 $20,384 $58,216 Legislative Branch $2,181 $634 $2,815 Judicial Branch $3,160 $1,000 $4,160 Total Civilian $211,098 $83,574 $294,672 DOD $99,638 $50,891 $150,529 Other Uniformed Personnel $3,088 $805 $3,893 Total Military $102,726 $51,696 $154,422 Civilian and Military Personnel Costs $313,824 $135,270 $447,046 Civilian $70,996 $9,686 $80,682 Military $51,095 $8,623 $59,718 Total Retiree $122,091 $18,309 $140,400 Grand Total—Civilian and Military, Active and Retiree $435,915 $153,579 $589,494 Organizational/ Employee Grouping Civilian Personnel Costs Military Personnel Costs Retiree Costs Source: U.S. Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government: Analytical Perspectives; Fiscal Year 2011, Table 11-4. Note: “Personnel benefits” for retirees includes health benefits and (for civilian personnel) life insurance. According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and as shown in Table 2 below, there were more than 2.8 million employees in the total federal civilian workforce (all three branches plus the U.S. Postal Service) in September 2009—down from nearly 3.0 million in September Congressional Research Service 2 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends 1994.4 From the beginning to the end of this period, the number of executive branch civilian employees declined by about 135,000 employees, driven largely by reductions in the Department of Defense (DOD, down more than 143,000 employees) and the U.S. Postal Service (down by nearly 145,000).5 The number of legislative branch employees declined somewhat during this period (down about 4,500 employees), while the number of judicial branch employees increased somewhat (up about 5,700 employees). Table 2.Trends in Federal Civilian Employment, 1994 -2009 (in thousands) 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2009 Legislative Branch 35.4 31.5 30.5 31.2 30.9 30.0 29.4 30.9 Judicial Branch 28.0 29.6 31.7 32.2 34.7 33.8 33.7 33.7 2,908.2 2,786.3 2,727.3 2,644.8 2,649.9 2,649.3 2,637.1 2,773.9 879.9 795.9 717.9 676.3 670.2 668.2 675.7 736.6 —Non-DOD 1,205.6 1,138.1 1,137.9 1,107.8 1,168.1 1,213.5 1,203.9 1,359.3 —U.S. Postal Service 822.7 852.3 871.5 860.7 811.6 767.6 757.4 736.6 2,971.6 2,847.4 2,789.5 2,708.1 2,715.5 2,713.2 2,700.3 2,838.5 Executive Branch —DOD Total Source: OPM’s The Fact Book: 2005 Edition (p. 7) and 2007 Edition (p. 8), and Employment and Trends, September 2009, Table 2. These totals do not, however, include employees in the intelligence agencies, members of the active armed forces, or members of the reserve forces. The data also do not include federal contractors and grantees. The exact number of direct and indirect federal contract and grant jobs is unknown, but Paul Light of New York University has estimated the total to be more than 10.5 million in 2005—more than twice as many as the combined total of all three branches of government, the U.S. Postal Service, the intelligence agencies, the armed forces, and the Ready Reserve. 6 As Table 3 below shows, the estimated number of federal contract jobs increased by more than 70% between 1999 and 2005 (from more than 4.4 million to more than 7.6 million)—a change that was reportedly driven almost entirely by increased spending at DOD during this period. 7 The table also shows that, taken together, the number of federal contract and grant jobs increased by more than 50% during this six-year period. 4 U.S. Office of Personnel Management, The Fact Book: 2005 Edition, p. 7, available at https://www.opm.gov/feddata/ factbook/2005/factbook2005.pdf. OPM has not published The Fact Book since 2005, so 2004 data are the most recent available. Here and throughout this report, the number of employees reported is based on head counts of employees on board as of a particular date. Federal budget documents and other sources sometimes use “full-time equivalent” or “FTE” numbers, in which two employees working 20 hours per week are treated as one FTE. 5 For more information on the Postal Service, see CRS Report RS22864, U.S. Postal Service Workforce Size and Employment Categories, 1990-2010, by Wendy Ginsberg. 6 Paul C. Light, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, The New True Size of Government, August 2006. To view the study, see http://wagner.nyu.edu/performance/files/True_Size.pdf. 7 Ibid. Congressional Research Service 3 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Table 3. Number of Direct and Indirect Federal Contract and Grant Jobs, 1999 and 2005 Increase 1999 2005 Number Percent Federal contract jobs 4,441,000 7,634,000 3,193,000 71.9% Federal grant jobs 2,527,000 2,892,000 365,000 14.4% Total 6,968,000 10,526,000 3,558,000 51.1% Source: Paul C. Light, The New True Size of Government, August 2006. It is unclear whether the number of federal contractors has increased, decreased, or stayed the same since 2005. In March 2009, President Barack Obama indicated that he planned to reduce the cost of federal contracts by $40 billion per year, which could lead to a reduction in the number of federal contractors.8 That same month, Congress enacted the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8, March 11, 2009), which included a provision (Section 752) requiring each executive department and agency to submit a report to the Director of OMB within 120 days stating the size of its workforce as of December 31, 2008, differentiating between civilian, military, and contract workers. OMB was required to submit an aggregate report to Congress within 180 days after the date of enactment. As of the date of this report, it is unclear whether the required report to Congress has been completed. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117, December 16, 2009) contained a similar provision (Section 743), directing each executive agency (other than DOD) required to submit an inventory under the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-270) to submit to OMB an annual inventory of service contracts awarded or extended after April 1, 2010. The first report was due December 31, 2010, and was to include “the number and work location of contractor and subcontractor employees, expressed as full-time equivalents for direct labor, compensated under the contract.” On November 5, 2010, OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy sent a memorandum to agency chief acquisition officers and senior procurement executives regarding these inventories, noting that they will be required to include the number of contractors and first tier subcontractors beginning in FY2011. 9 Federal Civilian Employment Data OPM’s Central Personnel Data File (CPDF) is the most comprehensive, authoritative, and up-todate database of federal executive branch employees, but it does not include information for certain executive branch agencies (e.g., the intelligence agencies) and certain entities that are sometimes considered part of the federal government (e.g., the U.S. Postal Service). It also does not include contractors, grantees, members of the armed forces, reservists, federal employees in the judicial branch, or most employees in the legislative branch. 10 8 Richard Wolf, “Obama Seeks to End Abuses in Federal Contracting,” USA Today, March 4, 2009. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/procurement/memo/service-contract-inventories-guidance11052010.pdf for a copy of this memorandum. 10 Specifically, CPDF coverage of the executive branch currently includes all agencies except the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Foreign Service personnel at (continued...) 9 Congressional Research Service 4 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends The data provided in the remainder of this report focus on civilian employees in executive branch departments and agencies. Unless otherwise noted, the data are drawn from OPM’s “FedScope” website (http://www.fedscope.opm.gov), which is based on the CPDF. According to FedScope, in December 2010, there were 2,112,277 employees in the federal agencies that the CPDF covers. Federal Civilian Employment by Agency As Figure 1 and Table 4 below show, DOD was by far the largest federal agency in December 2010 (771,614 civilian employees), followed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA, 312,878 employees) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, 191,197 employees). These three Cabinet departments accounted for 60.4% of the 2.1 million federal civilian workforce. More than 91% of federal civilian employees worked in the 15 Cabinet departments. Among independent federal agencies (i.e., those agencies that are not part of a Cabinet department), nearly 64% of employees (120,641 of 188,578) were in four agencies: the Social Security Administration (SSA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the General Services Administration (GSA). Figure 1. Federal Civilian Workforce, December 2010 Independent agencies, 8.9% All other cabinet departments, 30.7% DOD, 36.6% DHS, 9.1% DVA, 14.8% Source: OPM’s FedScope database. (...continued) the State Department, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Office of the Vice President, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the U.S. Postal Service, and the White House Office. Also excluded are the Public Health Service’s Commissioned Officer Corps, non-appropriated fund employees, and foreign nationals overseas. The legislative branch is limited to the Government Printing Office, the U.S. Tax Court, and selected commissions. Congressional Research Service 5 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Table 4. Number of Federal Civilian Employees by Department and Major Independent Agency, December 2010 Department/Agency Number of Civilian Employees Cabinet Departments Department of Defense 771,614 Department of Veterans Affairs 312,878 Department of Homeland Security 191,197 Department of Justice 118,104 Department of the Treasury 112,541 Department of Agriculture 98,235 Department of Health and Human Services 83,745 Department of the Interior 72,168 Department of Transportation 58,189 Department of Commerce 45,348 Department of Energy 16,651 Department of Labor 16,554 Department of State 12,086 Department of Housing and Urban Development 9,818 Department of Education 4,611 Subtotal: All Cabinet departments 1,923,739 Independent Agencies Social Security Administration 70,270 Environmental Protection Agency 18,737 National Aeronautics and Space Administration 18,732 General Services Administration 12,902 All other independent agencies 67,897 Total 2,112,277 Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Federal Civilian Employment by Location As of December 2010, about 97.5% of federal civilian employees worked in the United States. As shown in Table 5 below, more than 35% of federal civilian employees’ duty stations (757,377 of 2,112,277) were in the District of Columbia and four states (California, Virginia, Texas, and Maryland). DOD had the largest number of federal employees in most of the states, and the department had the second-highest number of employees in most of the other states. DVA was the most common second-largest federal employer in the states. Other federal departments or agencies with large numbers of employees in certain states included DHS (with more than 10,000 employees in five states, including more than 20,000 in both California and Texas); the Department of Justice (DOJ, with more than 25,000 employees in the District of Columbia); and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS, with more than 37,000 employees in Congressional Research Service 6 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Maryland). Among independent agencies, the Social Security Administration was the largest and most ubiquitous, with nearly 13,000 employees in Maryland and more than 1,000 employees in many other states. Table 5. States With Largest Number of Federal Civilian Employees (Duty Stations), December 2010 State Federal Civilian Employees Major Federal Employer(s) District of Columbia 169,809 DOJ (25,026) California 169,046 DOD (63.315) DVA (25,222) DHS (22,268) Virginia 147,152 DOD (95,005) Texas 141,500 DOD (50,993) DHS (25,138) DVA (22,248 Maryland 129,870 DOD (38,941) HHS (37,213) Florida 89,708 DOD (30,020) DVA (23,139) Georgia 80,751 DOD (38,528) Pennsylvania 70,003 DOD (26,592) New York 61.751 DVA (18,006) Washington 57,350 DOD (29,009) Ohio 53,478 DOD (26,321) Illinois 51,241 DOD (15,317) Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Note: The table includes all states with at least 50,000 federal employees, and shows the largest federal employers in those states. For security purposes, FedScope does not provide detailed location information for certain agencies (e.g., the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the U.S. Secret Service). Employees of these agencies that work in the Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area are all reported as working in the District of Columbia. Other employees are reported as “Suppressed” (a total of 32,000 in the Department of Justice). As a result, FedScope somewhat overstates employment for the District of Columbia and understates employment for all states, territories, and foreign countries. As of December 2010, 37,337 federal civilian employees worked in foreign countries, 15,188 employees worked in U.S. territories, and 1,086 employees worked in “unspecified” locations.11 As Table 6 below shows, nearly 85% of federal civilian employees in foreign countries worked for DOD, with DHS and the Agency for International Development (AID) a distant second and third, respectively. DOD employees in foreign countries most commonly worked for the Department of the Army (12,610 employees) or in DOD “Education Activity” (10,059 employees). 11 These data do not include certain agencies or employees in certain agencies (e.g., the intelligence agencies and Foreign Service personnel in the Department of State). Congressional Research Service 7 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Nearly 75% of federal employees in U.S. territories worked for DOD, DVA, or DHS. Within DOD, most employees worked for the Department of the Navy (1,412 employees), Department of the Army (1,338 employees), or in DOD “Education Activity” (937 employees). Within DHS, most employees worked for either the Transportation Security Administration (TSA, 963 employees) or the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (990 employees). Table 6. Federal Civilian Employees in Foreign Countries and U.S.Territories by Major Department or Agency, December 2010 Number of Federal Civilian Employees Working in Foreign Countries in U.S. Territories Outside the United States DOD 33,147 4,451 37,598 DVA 19 3,943 3,962 DHS 979 2,940 3,919 1,901 0 1,901 USDA 186 758 944 Treasury 73 732 805 1,032 2,364 3,396 37,337 15,188 52,525 Department or Agency International Development Cooperation Agency All other departments and agencies Total Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Note: FedScope does not include Foreign Service personnel in the Department of State. Although there was at least one federal civilian employee in more than 160 foreign countries, Table 7 below shows that nearly 80% of these employees worked in four countries—Germany, Japan, Korea, and Italy. In these countries, 99% of the employees worked for DOD. Federal employment in U.S. territories is even more stratified, with 75% of employees in those areas working in Puerto Rico and 93% working in either Puerto Rico or Guam. In Puerto Rico, the major agencies are DVA (3,891 employees), DOD (2,162 employees), and DHS (2,117 employees). In the other territories, certain agencies tend to dominate (e.g., 2,153 of 2,762 employees in Guam are in DOD, and 374 of 724 employees in the Virgin Islands are in DHS). Table 7. Federal Civilian Employees in Foreign Countries and U.S.Territories by Major Countries and Territories, December 2010 Federal Civilian Employees Country/Territory Number Percent of Total Germany 14,655 41.8% Japan 7,157 20.4% Korea 3,456 9.9% Italy 2,583 7.4% United Kingdom 1,679 4.8% Foreign Countries Congressional Research Service 8 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Federal Civilian Employees Country/Territory Number Percent of Total Afghanistan 586 1.7% Belgium 704 2.0% All other countries 4,236 12.1% Total in foreign countries 37,377 100.0% Puerto Rico 11,395 75.0% Guam 2,762 18.2% Virgin Islands 724 4.8% All other territories 307 2.0% 15,188 100.0% U.S. Territories Total in U.S. territories Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Changes in the Size of the Federal Civilian Workforce As Figure 2 below indicates, the executive branch civilian workforce became somewhat smaller between 1998 (the first year for which FedScope data are available) and 2000, but has grown since 2000. As of December 2010, the workforce had more than 300,000 more employees than it had in September 1998, and nearly 350,000 more employees than it had in September 2000. As mentioned previously, though, the number of federal contractors is believed to have increased much more substantially during this period, growing by more than 3 million workers between 1999 and 2005 (from more than 4.4 million to more than 7.6 million).12 12 Paul C. Light, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, The New True Size of Government, August 2006. Congressional Research Service 9 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Figure 2. Size of the Federal Civilian Workforce, 1998 to 2010 2,200,000 2,112,227 Number of Federal Employees 2,100,000 2,000,000 1,900,000 1,810,341 1,800,000 1,700,000 1,600,000 1,500,000 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Year Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Data for 1998 through 2009 are as of September 30; data for 2010 are as of December 31. Several federal departments and agencies were created or substantially reorganized between 1998 and 2010, so tracking changes over time by department or agency must take those changes into account. For example, before DHS was created in 2003, several of its bureaus were parts of other Cabinet departments (e.g., the U.S. Coast Guard was in the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Customs Service was in the Department of the Treasury, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service was in the Department of Justice). With that caveat, Table 8 below shows the number of employees in the major departments and agencies in September 1998 and December 2010. As the table shows, some of the agencies that were unconnected to the creation of DHS became larger during this period (e.g., HHS, DVA, and DOD), and some became smaller (e.g., the Department of Agriculture and SSA). Congressional Research Service 10 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Table 8. Federal Civilian Workforce: September 1998 and December 2010 Department/Agency September 1998 December 2010 Department of Agriculture 107,709 98,235 (9,474) (8.8%) Department of Commerce 38,933 45,348 6,415 16.5% Department of Defense 710,412 771,614 61,202 8.6% Department of Justice 122,580 118,104 (4,476) (3.7%) Department of Labor 15,946 16,554 608 3.8% Department of Energy 16,148 16,651 503 3.1% Department of Education 4,833 4,611 (222) (4.6%) Department of Health and Human Services 58,261 83,745 25,484 43.7% (Did not exist) 191,197 — — Department of Housing and Urban Development 9,984 9,818 (166) (1.7%) Department of the Interior 73,038 72,168 (870) (1.2%) Department of State 15,637 12,086 (3,551) (22.7%) Department of Transportation 64,858 58,189 (6,669) (10.3%) Department of the Treasury 141,966 112,541 (29,425) (20.7%) Department of Veterans Affairs 240,846 312,878 72,032 29.9% EPA 19,242 18,737 (505) (2.6%) GSA 14,221 12,902 (1,319) (9.3%) NASA 19,207 18,732 (475) (2.5%) SSA 65,629 70,270 4,641 7.1% All other independent agencies 70,891 67,897 (2,994) (4.2%) 1,810,341 2,112,277 301,936 16.7% Department of Homeland Security Total Change Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Note: Negative changes are in parentheses. Pending Legislation Legislation has been introduced in the 112th Congress that attempts to reduce the size of the federal workforce. The Federal Workforce Reduction Act of 2011 (H.R. 657) would generally prohibit the head of an executive agency from appointing any individual to a position in the agency for which the Director of OMB projects a federal budget deficit. The legislation would also set the number of positions in the federal workforce hiring pool (to be established by the President) at zero as of the first day of FY2012, after which the number is required to (1) increase by .50 for each full time-equivalent position in any agency which subsequently becomes vacant; and (2) decrease by 1.0 for each request for a full time-equivalent position that is approved by the President. The bill would exempt DOD, DHS, and DVA from these requirements. Congressional Research Service 11 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Types of Appointments and Work Schedules As Table 9 below indicates, almost 90% of federal employees in December 2010 were full-time, permanent employees (which was about the same percentage as in September 1998). About 5% of federal employees were full-time, nonpermanent; nearly 3% were not full-time, permanent; and 3.3% were not full-time, nonpermanent.13 Table 9. Federal Employees’ Type of Appointment and Work Schedule, December 2010 Type of Appointment Work Schedule Full-time Not Full-time Permanent Non-permanent Unspecified Total 1,874,548 105,992 96 1,980,636 62,471 69,145 0 131,616 3 3 19 25 1,937,022 175,140 115 2,112,277 Unspecified Total Source: OPM’s FedScope database. The Cabinet departments with the largest percentage of non-permanent employees were the Departments of Health and Human Services (27.8%), State (23.6%), and Interior (20.2%). Large independent agencies with large percentages of non-permanent employees were the U.S. Agency for International Development (50.1%), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (36.6%), the National Archives and Records Administration (21.2%), and the Small Business Administration. The departments and agencies with the largest percentage of employees working less than a fulltime schedule included OPM (20.3%), HHS (19.1%), and the Department of Commerce (17.5%). There were also substantial variations within these departments and agencies. For example, within the Department of Commerce, almost half (46.7%) of Census Bureau employees worked less than full-time; rates for the other parts of the department were less than 8%.14 The Arrival and Departure of Federal Employees In each of the last several years, more than 300,000 employees joined federal agencies. These “accessions” may be divided into two main groups—employees who transferred into the agencies 13 The “non-permanent” category mainly consists of excepted service Schedule A and Schedule B employees. According to OPM, Schedule A appointing authorities “describe special jobs and situations for which it is impractical to use standard qualification requirements and to rate applicants using traditional competitive procedures.” For example, agencies must use a Schedule A exception to hire attorneys because, by law, OPM cannot develop qualification standards or examinations for attorney jobs. OPM says Schedule B authorities “also apply to jobs and situations for which it is impractical to rate applicants using competitive procedures. However, under Schedule B authorities applicants must meet the qualification standards for the job. For example, Schedule B includes hiring authorities for the Student Temporary Employment Program, the Student Career Experience Program, and the Federal Career Intern Program. Only students qualify for student programs; it is not practical to use competitive procedures for them.” For more information, see https://www.opm.gov/Strategic_Management_of_Human_Capital/fhfrc/ FLX05020.asp#itemA1. The “not full time” category mainly includes intermittent and part-time seasonal and nonseasonal employees. 14 Most of the Census Bureau employees working less than full time were intermittent and part-time non-seasonal employees in the 0303 “Miscellaneous Clerk and Assistant” occupational series. Congressional Research Service 12 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends from other federal agencies (either through individual or mass actions) and new hires. Each year, transfers are typically less than 10% of all accessions.15 For example, in FY2010, 14,003 (4.6%) of the 305,078 accessions were either individual or mass transfers. The remaining 291,075 accessions were new hires. In FedScope, new hires are divided into competitive selections, excepted service appointments, 16 and selections for the Senior Executive Service (SES). As Table 10 below indicates, in FY2010, most new federal hires (54.4%) were into excepted service positions, not through the competitive selection process. The table also shows that almost half of federal hiring in FY2010 (144,475 of 291,075) was for other than full-time permanent employment. Table 10.Type of Federal Hiring by Type of Position, FY2010 Type of Hiring Competitive Excepted Service Senior Executive Service Total Full-time permanent 89,006 56,949 375 146,330 Not full-time permanent 43,367 101,347 31 144,475 132,373 158,296 406 291,075 Type of Position Total Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Among the 146,330 full-time permanent hires, 89,006 (60.8%) were hired through the competitive selection process and 56,949 (38.9%) were hired into excepted service positions. Some agencies were more prone to hire full-time, permanent employees without using the competitive selection process than others. For example, in FY2010, 100% of TSA hires and 67.2% of hires in the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection were into excepted service positions.17 Separations In each of the last several years, more than 200,000 employees separated from federal agencies in one of two ways—through transfers to other agencies (either through individual or mass actions) or via separations from federal service. As was the case with accessions, transfers typically account for less than 10% of all separations each year. For example, in FY2010, 21,609 (9.5%) of the 228,540 separations were either individual or mass transfers. The remaining 206,931 separations in FY2010 were separations from federal service. 15 The exception to this trend in recent years was in 2003, when more than 162,000 employees were mass transferred when DHS was created, including 67,958 at TSA, 37,416 at the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and 24,239 at the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. 16 Certain positions are excepted from competitive service by law, by executive order, or by OPM on the grounds that competitive examinations for such positions are not appropriate or impracticable (e.g., attorneys, medical doctors, and students under certain temporary employment programs). 17 Several agencies have been granted broad excepted service hiring authority, including TSA, DHS, DVA, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. See http://www.makingthedifference.org/ federaljobs/exceptedservice.shtml for a list of the major excepted service agencies. Congressional Research Service 13 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Separations from the federal service may be divided into employees who quit, retire, are terminated/removed, die, are separated through a reduction-in-force (RIF), or have some other type of separation. As Table 11 below shows, the most common forms of separation from the federal service in FY2010 were removals/terminations (37.0% of all separations from federal service), followed by quits (35.9%), and retirements (25.4%). However, when considering only full-time, permanent employees, retirements were most common (53.1% of all separations from federal service) followed by quits (33.6%). Almost 88% of all removals/terminations involved employees who were not full-time, permanent employees. Table 11.Type of Separation From Federal Service by Type of Position, FY2010 Type of Separation from the Federal Service Quit Retire Removal Death RIF/ Other Total Full-time permanent 32,186 50,847 9,507 2,869 317 95,726 Not full-time permanent 42,036 1,709 67,003 346 111 111,205 Total 74,222 52,556 76,510 3,215 428 206,931 Type of Position Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Changes in Federal Occupational Categories Federal occupations vary widely, from pipefitting to psychology.18 At the broadest level, federal occupations are categorized as blue-collar and white-collar, and the white-collar occupations may be grouped into five general categories: professional, administrative, technical, clerical, and other.19 Table 12 below shows the distribution of federal employees in these categories in September 1998 and December 2010. The table shows that the number of employees working in blue-collar and clerical occupations declined substantially during this period (down 15.3% and 27.6%, respectively), while the number working in professional and administrative occupations increased substantially (up 21.7% and 45.0%, respectively). The number of employees in technical occupations increased slightly (up 7.1%). Table 12. Occupational Categories in the Federal Civilian Workforce, September 1998 and December 2010 Change Occupational Category September 1998 December 2010 Number Percent 242,977 205,915 (37,062) (15.3%) 1,567,170 1,906,362 339,192 21.6% —Professional 439,704 535,042 95,338 21.7% —Administrative 531,395 770,743 239,348 45.0% Blue-collar White-collar 18 As of December 2010, there were 2,775 federal employees in the “pipefitter” occupational series, and 7,051 employees in the “psychology” series. 19 See http://www.opm.gov/feddata/gp58.pdf for the distinctions between these groups. Congressional Research Service 14 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Change Occupational Category September 1998 December 2010 Number Percent —Technical 349,524 374,354 24,830 7.1% —Clerical 198,898 143,942 (54,956) (27.6%) —Other 47,843 82,281 34,438 72.0% 1,810,341 2,112,277 301,936 16.7% Total Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Note: The “other” category includes a few hundred “unspecified” in each year. Negative changes are in parentheses. Changes in the Demographic Characteristics of the Federal Civilian Workforce The federal civilian workforce has also changed during the last 12 years in terms of certain demographic characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, age, and length of service). Some of those changes were more significant than others, and some appear to be continuations of longerterm trends. Representation of Minorities and Women Table 13 below provides data on the percentages of the federal civilian workforce in September 1998 and December 2010 that were women and minorities. The data indicate that the representation of minorities in the federal workforce rose somewhat during this period (from 29.6% to 33.5%), while the representation of women declined slightly (from 44.4% to 44.1%). According to OPM, in September 1988, minorities composed 26.7% of the executive branch workforce, and women composed 42.2%.20 Table 13. Percentage of the Federal Civilian Workforce, Women and Minorities, September 1998 and December 2010 Women/Minorities September 1998 December 2010 Women 44.4% 44.1% Minorities 29.6% 33.5% —African American 15.9% 17.4% —Hispanic 6.4% 6.1% —Asian/Pacific Islander 4.5% 5.7% —Other minorities 2.1% 4.3% Sources: The September 1998 data are from OPM’s The Fact Book: 1999 Edition (OWI-99-2, September 1999), p. 56. The December 2010 data are from OPM’s FedScope database. 20 U.S. Office of Personnel Management, The Fact Book, 1999 Edition: Federal Civilian Workforce Statistics, OWI99-2 (September 1999). Congressional Research Service 15 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends The slight decline in the percentage of the federal workforce that was women between 1998 and 2010 may be partly a function of the decline in the number of federal clerical jobs during this period (down by nearly 55,000, as shown in Table 12 above), and in their participation rate in those jobs. As Table 14 below shows, clerical jobs were 82% women in September 1998 but less than 70% women by December 2010. On the other hand, the representation of women in the professional and administrative categories (occupational categories that were growing during this period) increased somewhat during this period. Table 14. Percentage of Federal Civilian Workforce Categories That Were Women, September 1998 and December 2010 Percentage of the Federal Workforce - Women Occupational Category September 1998 December 2010 Blue-Collar 10.8% 10.4% White-Collar 49.6% 47.8% —Professional 39.0% 45.8% —Administrative 42.6% 43.7% —Technical 60.4% 58.0% —Clerical 82.1% 68.1% —Other 12.2% 15.4% Total 44.4% 44.1% Source: OPM’s FedScope database. As Table 15 below shows, the percentage of the federal workforce that was minorities increased in most of the occupational groupings, but the increases were most notable in the professional, administrative, technical, and “other” occupational categories. Table 15. Percentage of Federal Civilian Workforce Categories That Were Minorities, September 1998 and December 2010 Percentage of the Federal Workforce—Minorities Occupational Category September 1998 December 2010 Blue-Collar 34.6% 34.4% White-Collar 28.9% 33.4% —Professional 21.3% 26.2% —Administrative 24.5% 32.1% —Technical 36.0% 40.1% —Clerical 43.1% 46.1% —Other 36.1% 40.2% Total 29.6% 33.5% Source: The September 1998 data are from OPM’s The Fact Book: 1999 Edition (OWI-99-2, September 1999), p. 46 and p. 56. The December 2010 data are from OPM’s FedScope database. Congressional Research Service 16 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends The Senior Executive Service represents the most experienced and senior element of the federal government’s career workforce, and racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the SES ranks can bring a variety of perspectives and approaches to policy development and implementation.21 As Table 16 below shows, the percentage of the SES that was women in December 2010 was less than women’s representation in the federal workforce as a whole (31.6% in the SES versus 44.1% in the workforce). Minorities were even less represented in the SES than in the federal workforce (18.1% of the SES were minorities versus 33.5% of the workforce as a whole). Table 16. Percentage of the Federal Civilian Workforce and the Senior Executive Service That Were Women and Minorities, December 2010 Representation in the Women/Minorities Federal Workforce SES Women 44.1% 31.6% Minorities 33.5% 18.1% —African American 17.4% 9.5% —Hispanic 6.1% 3.1% —Asian/Pacific Islander 5.7% 3.0% —Other minorities 4.3% 2.5% Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Age and Length of Service As Figure 3 below illustrates, the federal workforce was somewhat older in December 2010 than in September 1998. For example, the percentage of employees aged 55 and older increased from 14.9% in 1998 to 25.8% in 2010. On the other hand, the percentage of employees aged 30 to 49 declined from 59.3% in 1998 to 46.9% in 2010. These changes are evidence of a much-discussed aging of the federal workforce, with a larger percentage of federal employees potentially eligible to retire, or approaching retirement eligibility than in previous years.22 21 See, for example, David W. Pitts, “Representative Bureaucracy, Ethnicity, and Public Schools: Examining the Link Between Representation and Performance,” Administration & Society, vol. 39 (July 2007), pp. 497-527; and Morgen S. Johansen, “The Effect of Female Strategic Managers on Organizational Performance, Public Organization Review, vol. 7 (September 2007), pp. 269-280. 22 See, for example, testimony of Nancy H. Kichak, Associate Director for Strategic Human Resources Policy, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, before the Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, May 20, 2008, available at http://www.opm.gov/feddata/gp58.pdf. Congressional Research Service 17 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Figure 3. Age Distribution of the Federal Civilian Workforce, September 1998 to December 2010 25.0 19.2 Percentage of Federal Workforce 20.0 16.5 15.0 15.8 17.4 16.5 14 13.7 12.2 9.9 9.3 10.0 9.6 9.3 8.4 7.6 5.6 4.0 5.0 3.4 3 1.9 0.0 1.6 0.4 0.3 <20 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 1998 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65+ 2010 Source: OPM’s FedScope database. In contrast, the average length of service for the federal workforce declined between September 1998 and December 2010—from 15.2 years to 13.5 years. As Figure 4 below shows, the changes between 1998 and 2010 were not uniform across the length-of-service categories. A larger percentage of the federal workforce had less than five years of federal service in 2010 than in 1998 (30.4% versus 15.9%, respectively), and a larger percentage of the workforce in 2010 had more than 30 years experience than in 1998 (10.2% versus 6.8%, respectively). Differences between 1998 and 2010 are also apparent in the middle length-of-service categories (and particularly in the 10-to-14 year category). In 1998, 52.8% of the federal civilian workforce had between 5 and 19 years of service; by 2010, the percentage of the workforce with that category of service fell to 38.9%. The percentage of workers with between 10 and 14 years of service fell most sharply—from 19.6% in 1998 to 11.1% in 2010. Congressional Research Service 18 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Figure 4.Years of Service Distribution of the Federal Civilian Workforce, 1998 to 2010 Percentage of Federal Workforce 25.0 19.2 20.0 19.6 17.0 16.2 14.3 15.0 13.1 11.1 11.3 9.6 10.0 10.4 8.9 8.6 7.7 5.8 5.2 6.2 4.9 5.2 5.0 4.0 1.6 0.0 <1 1--2 3--4 5--9 10--14 1998 15--19 20--24 25--29 30--34 35+ 2010 Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Systems and Average Pay The General Schedule (GS) was created by the Classification Act of 1949, and is by far the largest federal pay system. However, as Table 17 below shows, the percentage of federal civilian employees who were covered by the GS and related pay systems declined from nearly 80% in September 1998 to 71% in December 2010, and the percentage in the “Prevailing Rate” (bluecollar) pay system declined from 13.4% to 9.7%. During the same period of time, the percentage of employees in single-agency pay systems increased substantially—particularly in pay systems not related to nursing or teaching. The number of employees covered by such systems increased from less than 16,000 in 1998 (0.8% of the federal civilian workforce) to 266,587 in 2010 (12.6% of the federal workforce). According to FedScope, the largest pay plans within this category in December 2010 were: • the pay plan for TSA administrative employees within DHS, other than executives (61,622 employees); • the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “Core Compensation” plan (22,571 employees); and • the FAA air traffic controller compensation plan (19,667 employees). Congressional Research Service 19 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Table 17. Employees in Major Federal Civilian Pay Systems, September 1998 and December 2010 September 1998 Federal Pay System December 2010 Number Percent Number Percent 1,431,757 79.1% 1,500,395 71.0% Prevailing Rate 241,837 13.4% 204,982 9.7% Other 136,520 7.5% 406,292 19.2% A. Government-wide 76,125 4.2% 80,566 3.8% 1. Admin Determined 58,652 3.2% 58,187 2.8% 2. Senior Executive Service 7,019 0.4% 7,981 0.4% 3. All other 10,454 0.6% 14,398 0.7% B. Single Agency 60,395 3.3% 325,726 15.4% 1. Nursing 32,267 1.8% 51,033 2.4% 2. Teaching 12,242 0.6% 8,106 0.4% 3. All other 15,886 0.8% 266,587 12.6% 1,810,341 100.0% 2,112,277 100.0% General Schedule or related Total Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Average Salary Differences In December 2010, the average salary of the more than 2.1 million federal employees covered by the FedScope database was $74,817. However, this average varies substantially by agency and pay system, even among the major Cabinet departments. For example, as Table 18 below shows, the average salary at DHS (which includes a large number of relatively lower-paid TSA employees) was $67,470, whereas the average salary at DOT (more than 80% of which is relatively higher-paid FAA employees) was $103,266. The agency with the highest average salary in December 2010 was the Securities and Exchange Commission ($147,595), and the agency with the lowest average salary was TSA ($48,733). Congressional Research Service 20 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Table 18. Average Salaries for Selected Federal Departments and Agencies, December 2010 Departments/Agencies Average Salary (December 2010) Departments/agencies with relatively high average salaries Securities and Exchange Commission $147,595 Federal Housing Finance Agency $147,350 Commodities Futures Trading Corporation $137,470 Federal Communications Commission $119,068 Federal Labor Relations Authority $117,217 Nuclear Regulatory Commission $116,471 Federal Deposit Insurance Commission $108,342 Department of Transportation $103,266 —Federal Aviation Administration $104,601 Department of Energy $103,636 Department of Education $102,457 Departments/agencies with relative low average salaries Department of Agriculture $65,180 —Agricultural Marketing Service $49,112 Department of the Interior $66,285 —Indian Affairs $54,925 Department of Homeland Security $67,470 —Transportation Security Administration $48,733 Department of Defense $70,174 —U.S. Army Installation Management $56,784 Source: OPM’s FedScope database. Highest Paid Federal Employees As Table 19 below shows, 84,845 (4.0%) of the more than 2.1 million federal employees included in the FedScope database as of December 2010 had salaries of at least $150,000 per year. Nine departments and agencies accounted for 65,343 (77.0%) of these relatively highersalaried employees: DVA, DOD, DOT, DOJ, HHS, Treasury, DOC, SEC, and NASA. Just the top two departments (DVA and DOD) accounted for 42.6% of the employees in this category (36,136 of the 84,845 employees). Congressional Research Service 21 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends Table 19. Employees With Annual Salaries of $150,000 or More, by Department or Agency, December 2010 Number of Employees with Annual Salaries of Total Workforce $150,000 or More as Percentage of the Total Workforce $150,000 to $159,999 $160,000 to $169,999 $170,000 to 179,999 $180,000 or more $150,000 or More (sum of prior columns) DVA 2,534 2,556 3,212 13,246 21,548 312,878 6.9% DOD 7,891 5,592 749 356 14,588 771,614 1.9% DOT 2,788 1,992 2,153 2 6,935 58,189 11.9% DOJ 5,987 600 355 2 6,944 118,104 5.9% HHS 2,230 561 687 2,027 5,445 83,745 6.5% Treasury 1,842 358 444 463 3,107 112,541 2.8% DOC 1,954 258 186 3 2,401 45,938 5.2% 386 413 534 913 2,246 3,982 56.4% NASA 1,684 335 104 6 2,129 18,732 11.4% Subtotal 27,296 12,605 8,424 17,018 65,343 1,407,619 4.7% All other agencies 11,452 4,405 2,424 1,221 19,582 704,658 2.8% Total 38,748 17,010 10,848 18,239 84,845 2,112,277 4.0% Department/ Agency SEC Source: FedScope, which covers only federal civilian employees in the executive branch. It excludes certain executive branch agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Note: The totals do not include missing data, which varies somewhat from one type of data to the next. Therefore, the total number of employees varies slightly from one table to the next. Government-wide, and in seven of the nine listed agencies, the largest number of these highersalaried employees were in the “$150,000 to $159,999” pay category. However, in both DVA and the SEC, the largest number of these employees were in the “$180,000 or more” category. DVA alone accounted for 72.6% of the employees government-wide with annual salaries of $180,000 or more (13,246 of the 18,239 employees). The departments and agencies varied considerably in the percentage of their workforces with salaries of at least $150,000 per year; the lowest percentage was DOD (1.9%), and the highest percentage was the SEC (56.4%). In some of these departments and agencies, certain occupations accounted for the bulk of the employees with salaries of $150,000 or more per year. For example: • 23 At DVA, 18,830 (91.4%) of the 21,548 employees with annual salaries of $150,000 or more were Medical Officers (occupational series 0602), and another 899 employees (4.2%) were Dental Officers (0680).23 According to OPM, “Medical Officers” are physicians, and “Dental Officers” are dentists. Congressional Research Service 22 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends • At DOT, of the 6,935 employees with salaries of $150,000 or more per year, 6,323 (91.2%) were in the Federal Aviation Administration, and of these, 4,848 (76.6%) were Air Traffic Controllers (occupational series 2152). • At DOJ, of the 6,944 employees with salaries of $150,000 or more per year, 5,553 (80.0%) were General Attorneys (occupational series 0905). Most of these General Attorneys (3,168 of the 5,553, or 57.1%) were U.S. Attorneys or in the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorneys, almost all of whom made less than $160,000 per year (3,160 of 3,168). • At the SEC, of the 2,246 employees with salaries of at least $150,000 per year, 1,975 (87.9%) were either General Attorneys (occupational series 0905) or Accountants (0510). • At HHS, more than one-half of the employees with salaries of at least $150,000 per year (2,919 of the 5,445) were either Medical Officers (occupational series 0602) or General Health Science personnel (0601). More than 96% of the Medical Officers at HHS worked at the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Indian Health Service, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2,167 of 2,248). In other agencies, however, the higher-salaried employees were not concentrated in one or two occupations. For example, at DOD, the occupation that contained the largest percentage of employees earning $150,000 or more was General Engineering (occupational series 801), which comprised 11.4% of the employees in this category. Summary Observations The data provided in this report show that the “federal workforce” varies substantially in size, shape, and characteristics, depending on how that workforce is conceived. Viewed broadly, the “federal government” includes civilian and military employees, all branches of government, and the U.S. Postal Service. However, most discussions of the federal workforce focus on civilian employees in the executive branch. Within that category, while OPM’s FedScope data indicate that nearly 90% of the workforce in December 2010 was composed of full-time, permanent employees, about half of all hiring and separations from federal service each year involve temporary and/or other than full-time employees. Also, although federal pay averaged almost $75,000 in December 2010, federal agencies vary significantly in average salary, and in the proportion of their workforce with salaries of more than $150,000 per year. Therefore, in discussions about “the federal workforce,” it is important to be clear which agencies and what types of employees are included. Some aspects of the federal civilian executive branch workforce are, however, relatively unambiguous. That workforce grew by nearly 350,000 employees between September 2000 (the low point since 1998) and December 2010, with the growth concentrated in homeland securityrelated agencies, DVA, DOD, and HHS. The civilian workforce at other departments and agencies (e.g., USDA, Department of State, and EPA) became smaller. Although federal employees work in more than 100 agencies and organizations, the data indicate that nearly 60% of the federal civilian workforce was in three large Cabinet departments in December 2010—DOD, DVA, and DHS. Even in its reduced size, DOD was by far the largest and most ubiquitous federal department or agency. In most states, DOD was the largest federal civilian employer (often by a wide margin), and DOD was the second-largest employer in most of the other states. DOD also Congressional Research Service 23 The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends employed more than 90% of federal civilian employees in foreign countries (not including the foreign service). It is also clear from the data that certain aspects of the federal workforce have changed in recent years. For example, between September 1998 and December 2010, the number of blue-collar employees declined by more than 15%, and the number of clerical employees declined by more than 27%. Meanwhile, the number of professional and administrative employees increased by 21.7% and 45.0%, respectively. The percentage of the workforce that was minorities also increased during this period, but the percentage that was women declined slightly. Also, although women as well as minorities represented an increasing proportion of the growing professional and administrative groups, their representation in the Senior Executive Service lagged behind their representation in the workforce as a whole. The federal workforce was also noticeably older in 2010 than it was 12 years earlier. The percentage of the workforce that was age 55 or older rose sharply between 1998 and 2010 (from less than 15% to more than 25%). In 1998, the age grouping with the largest percentage of federal workers was age 45-49; in 2010, the modal age grouping was age 50-54. Perhaps the most surprising statistics, however, involve the “hidden” federal workforce of contractors and grantees. That workforce was estimated to include more than 10.5 million jobs in 2005—nearly four times as large as the combined total of all three branches of government and the U.S. Postal Service. The number of contractor and grantee jobs was also estimated to have increased by more 50% between 1999 and 2005. If that rate of increase is accurate and continued for the next six years, the number of federal contractors and grantees would reach nearly 16 million in 2011. However, it is unclear whether the number is increasing or decreasing because (unlike federal employment) there are currently no accurate data on the number of contractors or grantees. Legislation enacted in 2009 (Section 752 of P.L. 111-8 and Section 743 of P.L. 111117) directs federal agencies to report information to Congress on federal contractors, and those requirements may result in some contractor data becoming available shortly. Author Contact Information Curtis W. Copeland Specialist in American National Government cwcopeland@crs.loc.gov, 7-0632 Congressional Research Service 24