COVID boosts fed hiring less than expected
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Jun 03, 2021
As COVID hit in March, last year, the nation’s states and cities began to shut down, while multiple federal agencies geared up.
So—whether you believe that initial fed reaction was adequate or not—you could be forgiven for assuming the government workforce is significantly bigger since the epic war on coronavirus started. However, you’d be wrong.
In fact, the pace of federal hiring—which did surge at certain science and health agencies under temporary, special authorities in force due to the pandemic—actually clocked in lower in 2020 than 2019, according to a new report in the Federal Times.
You read that right. According to the piece, sourced from Office of Personnel Management employee data and other material, the federal workforce grew by over 34,000 last year, on its face a significant number. But the workforce grew by quite a bit more—about 40,000—the previous, non-COVID, year of 2019. To some observers, this relatively modest growth during such a massive national emergency seems surprisingly low.
Moreover, as the piece further documents, much of the past year’s modest increase in the federal workforce arose more due to lower-than-usual rates of retirements and separations, rather than any unusual spike in agency hiring.