The number of non-seasonal, full-time permanent federal employee positions rose slightly in fiscal 2017 but decreased as a percentage of the American population, according to a newly released OPM report.
While the population increased from 323.1 million to 325.3 million, the number of federal employees in those types of positions rose from 1.868 million to 1.870 million—in exact numbers, falling from 5.781 to 5.748 federal employees per 1,000 Americans.
That ratio commonly is cited as a measure of the federal government’s scope, although it does not include Postal Service and intelligence agency jobs, nor employees of contractors performing tasks that otherwise might be done by federal workers.
The 2017 count of non-seasonal, full-time permanent federal employees was the highest over a 10-year period; the previous peak in that time was 1.856 million in 2011, after which the number dropped for three years before building up. Meanwhile, the count of other positions continued to decline, dropping by about 12,000 to about 218,000 over the 2016-17. Such positions peaked over the 10 years in 2009 and 2010, when they numbered over 281,000.
The 2017 federal employment figures largely reflect budgetary decisions made in the last year of the Obama administration.