Largest-Ever Federal Payroll To Hit 2.15 Million

The era of big government has returned with a vengeance, in the form of the largest federal work force in modern history.

The Obama administration says the government will grow to 2.15 million employees this year, topping 2 million for the first time since President Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” and joined forces with a Republican-led Congress in the 1990s to pare back the federal work force.

Most of the increases are on the civilian side, which will grow by 153,000 workers, to 1.43 million people, in fiscal 2010.

“I’m shocked that the ‘tea party’ hasn’t focused on it yet, and the Obama administration only has a thin sliver of time to deal more directly with it, I believe,” said Paul C. Light, who studies the federal bureaucracy as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor at New York University. “When you talk about big government, you’re talking about a big employer.”

From 1981 through 2008, the civilian work force remained at about 1.1 million to 1.2 million, with a low of 1.07 million in 1986 and a high of more than 1.2 million in 1993 and in 2008. In 2009, the number jumped to 1.28 million and again to 1.43 million people, in fiscal 2010.

Including both the civilian and defense sectors, the federal government will employ 2.15 million people in 2010 and 2.11 million in 2011, excluding Postal Service workers.

In addition, Obama has called for federal workers to get a 1.4 percent pay raise next year. Did you get a pay raise last year or are you planning on getting one this year?

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