Federal Jobs: Now Under 1% of US Population


  • Under Reagan, federal employment increased by 200,000.
  • Under Obama, federal employment increased by 38,000  (thru 3/12).
  • Under both, federal employment held the same % relative to population.
  • The up-tick in 2010 was mostly census workers, but also some administration of Obama’s jobs stimulus.

So why do we keep hearing about the ballooning federal government? Who started this rumor?

It’s pretty simple. The Republicans want to cut middle-class programs. So they argue “the government is too big.” But if it were bigger back in the 1950s and ’60s when growth was stronger, that argument sounds a little silly.

So they need to tell a story that government is getting huge and out of control. So they just tell that story. As I said, it’s pretty simple.