The Federal Workforce in Numbers

Whether you work in government or not, you probably have the impression that the federal workforce is expansive and complex. You’re not wrong. But do you know just how many people and dollars it takes to keep the nation running?

Below are 25 facts and figures to give you a quantitative grasp on the size and scale of the federal workforce:

The Basics

Getting to Now

    • 3 agencies –the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs–accounted for 94% of the increase during that time Tweet this

The Day-to-Day

    • 17 departments or large agencies, however,  reported an increase in global employee satisfaction in 2014 compared to previous years, according to OPM Tweet this
    • 77% of NASA employees reported positive engagement in a 2014 OPM survey, making it the agency with the highest engagement across the large federal department and agencies Tweet this
    • 89% of employees at the U.S. Trade and Development agency also reported high engagement in the same survey, making it the most engaged small or independent agency in federal government Tweet this
    • $116,828 in total government-wide compensation was spent for each full-time equivalent position in the federal government in 2012, according to GAO Tweet this

Tomorrow’s Government

    • 1.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be given to all federal retirees in 2015 Tweet this


Wonder what federal employees do all day? Well, they do a myriad of things. A growing job function–in fact the role most quickly expanding–in government is that of IT and cybersecurity. Check out our recent post of 23 Cybersecurity Facts and Figures for more stats on government operations.

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Matthew Garlipp

Some really insightful stats, Hannah! I especially liked the ones about millennials in the federal workforce – it’s nice to see such a positive outlook!

Richard Regan

Don’t fall for the OPM Federal Viewpoint Survey results that NASA is a great place to work. NASA is one of the most white male dominated agencies in the federal government. It is only a great place to work if you are a white male. If NASA is a great place to work, then it is a great place to work because everyone looks the same and acts the same. Engagement does not guarantee diversity much less inclusion. The KKK is highly engaged but not inclusive. This is why you should not talk about engagement witnout talking about diversity and inclusion. It creates this false hope that engagement can be achieved if we only recruit and hire persons who look like us and think like us.