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The Trump administration is telling federal agencies to get smaller and more streamlined. But the size of the federal workforce has remained relatively stable since the late 90s and is a relatively small slice of total government employment. Here's how federal government employment compares to the local and state-level, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Expand chart

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics

About 22.3 million Americans are employed in the government sector. The federal government employs about 2.8 million people, roughly a tenth of the totall. The majority of government workers are employed at the local and state level and a large part of that employment is education-related. Between 1970 and 2017, local and state government employment has doubled, while federal employment has remained about the same.

  • See those small spikes in federal employment? Those are temporary employees hired for the census. In 2010, 635 thousand people were hired as enumerators, up from 550 thousand in 2000.
  • The Postal Service makes up a sizable but shrinking part of total federal employment. The number of postal employees shrunk by about 100 thousand while the rest of the government grew by roughly the same amount.
  • This data excludes military personnel, as well as employees of the intelligence community, but that number has also shrunk. According to the Office of Personnel Management, there were 3.1 million uniformed military personnel in 1970, and 1.4 million in 2014.

Go deeper

Neera Tanden withdraws nomination for Office of Management and Budget director

Neera Tanden testifying before the Senate Budget Committee in Washington, D.C., in February 2021. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Neera Tanden withdrew her name from nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget after several senators voiced opposition and concern about her qualifications and past combative tweets, President Biden announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Tanden’s decision to pull her nomination marks Biden's first setback in filling out his Cabinet with a thin Democratic majority in the Senate.

What's ahead for the newest female CEOs

Jane Fraser (L) and Rosalind Brewer. Photos: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images; Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The number of women at the helm of America’s biggest companies pales in comparison to men, but is newly growing — and their tasks are huge.

What's going on: Jane Fraser took over at Citigroup this week, the first woman to ever lead a major U.S. bank. Rosalind Brewer will take the reins at Walgreens in the coming weeks (March 15) — a company that's been run by white men for more than a century.

3 hours ago - Health

Biden says U.S. will have enough vaccines for 300 million adults by end of May

President Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden on Tuesday said that ramped-up coronavirus vaccine production will provide enough doses for 300 million Americans by the end May.

Why it matters: That's two months sooner than Biden's previous promise of enough vaccines for all American adults by the end of July.