As recently as July, the unemployment rate for government workers was 5.7 percent. But in August that dropped to 5.1 percent, then in September to 4.3 percent, and then in October to 4.2 percent. The overall unemployment rate for October was 7.9 percent.
Although the actual number of civilian federal government workers declined from September to October, dropping from 2,810,000 to 2,804,000, it has increased since January 2009 when President Barack Obama took office. At that time, there were 2,790,000 civilian federal workers.
The total number of civilian federal government employees includes employees of the U.S. Postal Service, a federal agency that has undergone significant contraction in its labor force since January 2009. At that time, the Postal Service employed 728,700 people. In October, it employed 607,400, a decline of 121,300 employees.
But the drop in employment by the Postal Service was more than made up by an increase in civilian employment by other federal agencies. In January 2009, the federal government employed 2,061,700 non-Postal Service civilian employees. In October 2012, it employed 2,196,600 non-Postal Service civilian employees, an increase of 134,900 employees.