Federal employees left their jobs at a higher rate under the first year of the Trump administration than at any other point in recent years.
New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employees left the federal workforce in 2017 at the highest rate in more than four years.
However, more recent data indicates the rate of federal employees leaving government has decreased significantly in 2018.
The data offers yet another snapshot of the size and state of the federal workforce under President Donald Trump, and helps to add some perspective to how much of a role the administration has had on the size of the federal workforce.
About 468,000 federal employees were separated from their jobs in 2017, approximately 10,000 more than the previous year. However, that increase doesn’t come close to the “retirement tsunami” that federal employment experts have predicted for years.
In 2014, the Government Accountability Office estimated that about 31 percent of the federal workforce — nearly 600,000 workers total — would be eligible to retire by 2017.
Meanwhile, more than 45 percent of federal employees are age 50 or older, according to the most recent data from the Office of Personnel Management.
Of the federal employees who separated from government jobs in 2017, about 189,000 of them voluntarily quit, more than a 16 percent increase compared to the numbers reported in 2016.
Layoffs remained flat between 2016 and 2017, at 157,000 for both years.
BLS reported that other separations — which include retirement, death, disability and transfers to other offices — fell to 123,000, more than a 10 percent decrease from its 2016 numbers.
Meanwhile, OPM reports that 95,923 federal employees filed for retirement in 2017 — a higher rate than in 2016, but still the lowest rate of retirement since 2010.
However, in the second year of the Trump administration, BLS data indicates fewer federal employees are leaving government. In January 2018, about 30,000 employees separated from their government jobs, down from the 40,000 workers that left the previous year.
Of those, about 11,000 federal employees voluntarily quit their jobs in January 2018. That’s down from 16,000 employees who quit in January 2017.
January 2018 also had the highest number of federal job openings since the beginning of the Trump administration. The BLS data shows there were 95,000 federal job openings at the beginning of this year.
The data also shows that federal hiring has generally decreased since Trump took office. In January 2017, the government hired about 46,000 employees. Since the start of the Trump administration, the only time the government surpassed that hiring level was in October 2017, just a few months after the Office of Management and Budget lifted the governmentwide hiring freeze.