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The dip in the rate of retirements among federal employees that started early in 2020 continued into the early part of this year, new OPM figures show.

The data show a total of just under 26,500 retirements through the first six months of fiscal year 2021 (through March of this year) in federal agencies excluding the Postal Service—nearly 20,000 of those in the October-December 2020 period. Retirements always are higher right around the turn of the year because of several factors including the value of the cash-in for unused annual leave.


Barring an uptick in the April-September period, the count is on track to fall below the roughly 62,300 retirements of fiscal 2020; during the comparable six months of fiscal 2020 there were fewer than 17,000 retirements.

The fiscal 2020 total was the lowest since fiscal 2017; in other years of the prior five years they averaged 65,900.

Regular voluntary retirement consistently account for the large majority of retirements, above 90 percent, while early-out, disability and mandatory retirements make up the rest. Early-out retirements average about 1,000 a year although through the first six months of the current fiscal year there were just 210.

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2022 Federal Employees Handbook