The pandemic has resulted in a slight increase in federal jobs and some change in the mix of occupations, with a more pronounced effect at agencies on the front lines, according to an analysis by the Partnership for Public Service.
It said that as of last March, the full-time permanent workforce outside the Postal Service stood at just below 1,908,000 and by year’s end “the workforce had expanded by just over 36,000 employees, averaging an increase of 0.6% per quarter and matching the level of growth over the same period in 2019. At least in the short-term, the pandemic does not appear to have significantly transformed the size or composition of the federal workforce.”
Growth overall was slightly higher, though, at the Veterans Health Administration, FDA, NIH, CDC, FEMA and SBA, which “all were critical to the government’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis,” it said.
On a percentage basis, FEMA grew the most, by 4 percent from about 4,700 to about 4,900 employees, while the VHA, which accounts for the large majority of the VA workforce, increased the most in terms of numbers from about 329,000 to about 338,000. In contrast, the NIH was down to about 12,300 from about 13,400, and the CDC was down to about 8,400 from about 9,100.
Across those six agencies 17 percent of employees are age 60 or older and thus considered at elevated risk for COVID-19, compared with 14.4 percent of the federal workforce overall, it added.
In terms of occupation, employment in the “professional and administrative” category increased from 67.2 to 67.6 percent, while blue-collar employment fell from 9.1 to 8.8 percent.