The number of federal employees grew slightly in fiscal 2018 as measured both by a count of the overall workforce and by one that excludes seasonal, part-time and temporary workers, newly released data from OPM show.

The count of non-seasonal, full-time permanent executive branch employees—considered the core federal workforce—showed a total workforce (excluding intelligence agencies and the self-funding Postal Service) as of last September of 1,872,077, up from 1,869,986 in September 2017 and 1,868,027 in September 2016.


The total showed a larger increase, to 2,100,753 in September 2018 from the 2,087,747 of 2017 and the 2,097,038 of 2016. By major agency, the VA increased in that count by about 11,000 in fiscal 2018, while DHS rose by about 7,000 and the Navy by about 6,000. That more than offset decreases at agencies including Agriculture, down about 3,000, and HHS and Interior, each down about 2,000.

Separate data through last June, three-fourths of the way through fiscal 2018, show that both hiring and separations to that point were about the same as in prior years. Retirements in that period were just under 51,000, which would project to about 62,500 for the full fiscal year—about the same as in fiscal 2017 and slightly below that of the prior six years. Resignations also ran at a slightly lower rate during those nine months than previously, while separations for other reasons—mostly temporary or term employees reaching the end of their appointments—increased slightly, making total separations about the same.

The Trump administration’s recently proposed budget projects an increase in fiscal 2020 over this year as measured by full-time equivalents—a measure of workload, not numbers of employees—although most of that would be temporary and part-time employees needed to conduct the census.