NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

In The Era Of Big Government: Federal Employment To Grow

September 29, 2000

Contrary to claims by the Clinton administration that federal employment has shrunk, Paul C. Light, director of government studies at the Brookings Institution, contends total federal employment will grow by one million over the next five to 10 years.

  • "Directly or indirectly responsible for about one-eighth of the jobs in the nation's economy, the government now is poised to expand," writes Light in the October issue of Government Executive.
  • Promised new programs by the two major presidential candidates for such things prescription drug coverage and education will require increased staff members.
  • The true federal workforce includes not just civil service employees but also postal workers, contract workers and grantees, says Light, as well as state and local employees whose work is mandated by the federal government.

Light's figures differ from the Clinton administration's, which claims the federal workforce -- measured by the number of civil servants and military personnel -- has been scaled back to its smallest size since the 1960s -- for a drop of one million employees since 1993.

Source: Cathy Newman, "Expecting a Government Expansion," Washington Post, September 28, 2000.


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