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            Long-term Study of Federal Employees Discovers Major
            Shifts Since 1975

           Federal Work Force Shrinks but Number of Lawyers,
             Criminal Investigators and Prison Guards Surges

           Changing Staffing Hits Some States Far Harder than

Syracuse, N.Y.—September 2—Major changes have occurred in the make up of federal civilian workers during the last quarter of a century, according to comprehensive employment data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

Among the key findings:

The overall number of federal civilian employees declined by one third in relation to the nation's population between 1975 and 2000.

During the same period, the per capita number of government lawyers jumped by more than half, criminal investigators working for the federal agencies increased by more than a third, and employees in the federal prison system tripled.

By contrast, air traffic controllers, highway safety experts and food and safety inspectors substantially decreased both in per capita terms and in actual counts. Government physicians also declined in relation to the nation's growing population, although the raw number of doctors was slightly higher than it was in 1975.

The analysis of data obtained by TRAC from the Office of Personnel Management under the Freedom of Information Act also showed that the national cut back in federal employees affected some states far more than others. In terms of absolute numbers, a few states actually gained employees, including Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Vermont and West Virginia which grew in raw numbers by 10 percent or more. In relation to population, the staffing declines experienced by such states as California, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Texas were substantially higher than the national average. Among the small number of states ending up with more federal employees per capita were West Virginia, Vermont and the District of Columbia. In recent years, the states with the consistently lowest per capita number of federal employees were Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Extensive information about most of the civilian employees of government—where they work, what they do, how much they are paid and much more—is available on TRAC's subscription services, TRACFED and FEDPROBE.

The work performed by the government is influenced by many factors such as changes in the laws and the development of new technologies. But the basic occupational make up of the men and women employed by the government is a driving force in determining the kinds of work that the federal agencies can accomplish.

The substantial increase in government lawyers, investigators and prison guards—in terms of both concrete head counts and as a proportion of the total work force—thus suggests a significant shift in the basic purpose of the federal government since 1975. This shift in purpose—dictated by the policies developed under six presidents and a series of Congresses—was underlined by the declines in occupations directly linked to providing services such as improving public health and assuring safe transportation.

(TRAC, associated with Syracuse University, is a non-partisan organization established in 1989 to provide the American people with comprehensive information about the operations of the federal government. Its operations have been supported by the university and a number of philanthropic organizations including the Knight Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Open Society Institute, the Beldon Fund, and the New York Times Company Foundation.

WWW: http://trac.syr.edu
E-mail: trac@syr.edu
Washington, D.C.: Suite 200, 1718 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., 20009 Tel. (202) 518-9000
Syracuse: 488 Newhouse II, Syracuse, NY 13244-2100
Tel. (315) 443-3563