The total number of government employees in the U.S. is edging close to a new record, only being outdone by one other month in the country’s history, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The U.S. added 49,000 government jobs in November, with 32,000 of those being local and 17,000 of those being federal, bringing the total number of government employees to 22,967,000, according to the BLS. The number of total government employees in November is only outdone by one other month, with 22,996,000 people being employed by the government in May 2010 as a result of temporary hiring used to perform the census that year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED).

The increase in government employment follows consistent growth in the sector, with the government adding 65,000 and 63,000 employees in October and September, respectively, according to the BLS. If the trend continues into December, the number will exceed 23 million, a record high.

Government hiring typically increases substantially in the months around census collection, which occurs in the U.S. in years that end with a zero, with the Census Bureau hiring thousands of temporary workers, peaking in May, to fulfill collection obligations, according to the Census Bureau.

The expected increase in government hiring for the 2020 census never came to fruition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted hiring efforts in February of that year, stopping at 22,871,000 government positions, according to FRED. Total government employment declined following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping rapidly to 21,396,000 positions by May 2020, but steadily rising ever since to its current position.

The U.S. added 199,000 jobs in November, boosted by around 47,000 employees returning to work after the conclusion of strikes from the United Auto Workers and the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA. The number of jobs added by the government for the month was exceeded only by gains in the health care sector, which added 77,000 in November.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Will Kessler on December 8, 2023

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