WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 2017: EPA headquarters sign at entrance on Constitution Ave. US Environmental Protections Agency, the federal agency that's supposed to protect human health & the environment

According to the announcement, the government overall “continues to lag well behind the private sector when it comes to employee engagement,” with an overall score of 62.2 versus 77.1 in a comparable private sector measure. The overall government score dropped by 0.6 percentage points from 2017, it added, and fell in 59 percent of organizations measured, compared with 40 percent where it gained and 1 percent where it held steady.

The data show “a sharp drop in employee satisfaction in the three strongest drivers of employee engagement—effective leadership, the match between employee skills and agency missions, and pay,” the announcement of the latest rankings says. Less than half of agencies and their subcomponents showed increases, in contrast to the prior three years when more than 70 percent showed gains, it said.

On the measure of “effective leadership” below half of organizations showed improvement in 2018 over 2017, compared with three-fourths in 2017 over 2016. The leadership score at EPA, for example, fell 7.1 points to 38.1.

Among notable gainers among large agencies, the HHS improved for the fourth straight year while the Office of the Secretary of Defense rose 2.1 points. Among mid-sized agencies, the FTC rose from fourth to first place over the year, up by 2.6 points along with the SBA; the SEC has risen from 19th to third place over the last six years. Among small agencies, there were notable gains in the Secret Service and FEC, up 11 and 9.6 points.

Notable decreases occurred at Agriculture, State, Education, CFTC, NLRB, FLRA and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office at DHS.