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Government Employment Lowest Since 1987

September 30, 2012

The total number of people employed at all levels of government is now 700,000+ lower than it was at the start of 2009 – when it peaked.

Note: The spike in 2010 was due to temporary census hiring.

As a percent of the population, government employment has fallen from 7.4% to just under 7.0% over that same time period. This is the lowest level since 1987.



  1. The captions on the two FRED charts both say “USGOVT”.

    Are you sure this includes state and local employees?

    That’s hard to believe, given the rise in AFSCME membership.

  2. 1) This chart represents the percent of the total population of the U.S. that is directly employed by the Federal, state, or local government on a full-time, part-time, regular, temporary, or intermittent basis.2) In the mid-1960s government employment rose rapidly from about 6.5% of the population to about 7.75% and has remained generally level through 2006.3) This chart indicates nothing about government contractors or outsourced services.

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