Government Employment

October 12, 1951

Report Outline
Civil Service in the Defense Effort
Growth of Federal Employment Rolls
Federal Vs. Private Job Standards
Special Focus

Civil Service in the Defense Effort

Government Industry Competition for Workers

Addition of many thousands of workers to the federal payroll since the outbreak of war in Korea has swelled the ranks of civilian government employees to two and one-half million and made the federal government a keen competitor of private industry in the labor market. Although the number of federal workers still is a million short of the peak attained in World War II, the total is continuing to rise.

Competition with private employers to obtain the services of persons with specialized skills is bound to increase as the rearmament program proceeds. But federal personnel demands already exercise a major influence in the labor market as a whole. The government now employs 4 per cent of all gainfully employed Americans, more than the country's 50 largest corporations combined. Its personnel policies thus affect private job standards almost everywhere. And the government itself, as a competitor for labor, is in turn affected by private employment practices. Current action to raise the pay of federal workers provides an example of the pressures at work.

Pending Bills to Raise Pay of Federal Employees

Bills to provide the first pay raise since 1949 for the government's salaried employees were overwhelmingly approved by the Senate on Sept. 14 and 17, and by the House on Sept. 20, as an offset to increases in the cost of living. When conferees compromise the different measures to the satisfaction of both houses, and the President signs them, about 1,600,000 “classified,” postal, and other federal employees will have their pay substantially boosted, retroactively to last July 1. The remaining 900,000 federal employees are largely hourly-pay workers whose rates are set by wage boards to equal private pay for similar work.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Public Employees
Apr. 08, 2011  Public-Employee Unions
Sep. 19, 1975  Public Employee Militancy
Oct. 25, 1967  Organization of Public Employees
Jul. 10, 1957  Unionization of Public Employees
May 18, 1955  Government Jobs
Nov. 01, 1952  Good Men for Government
Oct. 12, 1951  Government Employment
Jan. 19, 1942  Pay of Public Employees
Jun. 26, 1939  Extension of the Merit System
Jan. 20, 1932  Compensation of Public Employees
Civil Service
General Employment and Labor