The Biden administration’s budget proposal projects growth in federal employment in fiscal 2023 over current-year levels of 82,300 positions—3.6 percent—with the Veterans Affairs and Agriculture Departments accounting for about half of that increase.
The budget document presents employment in terms of full-time equivalent positions, in contrast to measures that conduct a headcount at a given point in time. By that measure, employment outside the Postal Service finished fiscal 2021 at just below 2.2 million, is projected to finish fiscal 2022 at just above, and is projected to reach 2.289 million in the upcoming budget year.
Some 29,000 of those positions would be at the VA, for positions in “healthcare including mental health; benefits delivery, including disability claims processing; education; employment training; and insurance, burial, and other benefits,” according to a budget document. The 10,200 to be added at Agriculture were not specified beyond a mention of increasing the wildlands firefighting force in the Forest Service. DHS would gain about 9,300 and Treasury about 5,500, in the latter case mostly in the IRS.
In percentage terms, among large agencies the greatest growth, 11.7 percent—but just 1,800 positions—would be at Labor to restore positions lost during the Trump administration in functions such as regulatory enforcement and health and safety inspections.
No Cabinet departments are projected to experience losses, while among smaller agencies notable gains are projected at FTC, OPM and EPA, with the most significant drop at the SBA.