The Biden administration budget projects that federal employment as measured by full-time equivalents—a measure of workload, not a headcount—will pass the 2.2 million mark in fiscal 2022 for the first time in at least four decades.
The budget projects an FTE count of 2,250,000 following a projected increase of 50,600 from fiscal 2021 levels, led by an increase of 19,100 at the VA, 8,500 at DoD, 6,000 at Treasury and 3,700 at Interior.
The 2,100 FTE increase at Labor would be the largest in percentage terms among Cabinet departments, up 13.5 percent, followed by 9.6 percent at HUD (800), 6.2 percent at Energy (900) and 6.1 percent at Treasury.
Among smaller agencies, a 300 FTE gain at EEOC would be an increase of 15 percent, a 200 FTE gain at the NLRB would be a 13.2 percent increase, and the 1,100 FTE gain at the EPA would be a 7.4 percent increase.
The only significant decrease in either numeric or percentage terms would be the Commerce Department, related to its component Census Bureau shedding temporary and part-time work related to last year’s census, down 3,400 FTEs, or 7.4 percent. Among agencies specified in the document—those with roughly 1,000 or more FTEs—the only other decrease would be at DHS, down 400, or 0.2 percent.
Budgets present tables of FTEs going back only 40 years. Since the 2,047,000 figure of 1982, the count has ranged between a low of 1,778,000 in 1999 to the estimated 2,199,000 this year.