Contrary to predictions of a significant exodus–either voluntary or involuntary–of employees once the Trump administration took over, separations of federal employees in fiscal year 2017 almost exactly mirrored those of the prior years, OPM data show.
A database of full-time, non-seasonal, permanent employees, excluding intelligence agencies and the self-funding USPS, showed 199,512 total separations from federal service in the budget year ending last September 30. That was slightly lower than the 202,098, 200,892 and 201,507 of the prior three years–and down by about a tenth from 2011 and 2012.
The reasons for separations also were virtually the same. The number who quit–either to take another job outside government or for other reasons–was only slightly up, to 78,132 compared with 76,775 the prior year and figures in the 73,000-77,000 range dating back to 2011.
Retirements slipped by about the same number as the increase in quits, down to 62,237 from 64,060 in 2016; over the prior five years the figures ranged from about 64,200 to about 69,300. In each year more than nine-tenths of retirements were regular voluntary retirement, with early outs, disability retirement and mandatory retirement (applying only in certain occupations) making up the rest.
The number of employees removed for disciplinary or performance reasons was also up only slightly, at 11,046, compared with 10,739 in 2016 and the 9,600-10,400 range of the prior five years.