Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fact: Federal Govt employment has increased 125,000 since Inaguration Day. Allegation: Federal spending has remained almost flat since Inaguration Day. Question: What are those 125,000 people doing? See graph here...

Below is a graph that measures the change in Federal employees (NOT counting Postal employees) since 2007 (Pre-Recession).  The gray area represents the the time span of the recession.  The vertical Red Line shows when Pres Obama took office (Jan 2009).

At Point "A"  when the Pres took office the number of Federal employees was 2.075 million.

The big spike in 2010 represents massive, temporary hiring to do the Constitutionally mandated Census that occurs every 10 years. Ignore this spike.

Point "B" represents the number of Federal employees, 2.2 million, in May 2012 (latest measure).

The difference between "A" and "B" is the increase in the number of Federal employees since the Pres took office. This number is approx. 125,000.

If you want to extend the timeline back a bit to the beginning of the recession (left edge of the gray area) you will see that Federal govt employment increased 100,000 from that point to Inauguration Day 2009.  The total change in Federal employees since the beginning of the recession is 225,000

Just ball-parking AVERAGE Federal employee TOTAL compensation (wages + benefits) of $80,000 that is an INCREASE in the Federal Payroll of at least $18 billion dollars each fiscal year

If government spending is relatively flat and there are 225,000 additional employees added to the payroll since 2008, my question is "What are these people doing?"--- More payroll  means less spending on programs those employees are hired to administer...I THINK that is a fair question, isn't it?

Tell me where I am going wrong. Thanks!


  1. "What are these people doing?"

    Playing Spider Solitaire maybe?

  2. Art---I did not mean to imply these people were "Zero Marginal Product" workers. I did a little more digging in Census data this morning and fleshed out the job categories and how they have changed numerically since 2008. I wonder about the allocation. Some of the numbers are big in categories I would not have expected. Always interested in your thoughts. Thanks!

  3. As you point out elsewhere one also has to factor in how much each FTE is paid....



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