US government spending is expected to fall this year by $5 billion, according to a new study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The budget cuts, which were announced in the fall of 2016, affect almost 10% of the federal workforce.
The report said the cutbacks in federal contracting and staffing will result in a net loss of 1.3 million jobs and an additional $4.9 billion in spending.
In addition, the GAO said it will reduce the number of federal employees by 3.2 million in the first year, an additional 1.2% in the second year and an estimated $3.9bn in the third year.
“These budget cuts will affect federal workers, and those affected by them are disproportionately minority, women, and people of color,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who sponsored the report.
“It is particularly important that we make good on the promise of this budget that we made to Americans that we are going to have the best workforce in the world, not the worst.”
The GAO report, released Tuesday, came a month after the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced a new policy aimed at reducing the amount of time federal employees spend in their offices.
The policy, which was announced last month, requires agencies to hire and train more people on the job each month by 2023, and to keep hiring at least 8% of their total workforce through 2020.
But according to the report, a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Project (GAP), the OPM’s new hiring policy is still being challenged by the Obama administration, which is attempting to limit the amount federal employees can work from home.
“Federal hiring has been on a downward trend over the last several years,” said GAO President Richard Painter.
“Our report demonstrates the challenges the federal government faces in recruiting and retaining talent.
We can do better, and that is why we have focused our efforts on building the workforce for the future.”
A federal hiring freeze was already in place as part of the Obama-era hiring freeze, which froze federal hiring from October 2019 until February 2020.
“The OPM report underscores the need for the federal bureaucracy to build a stronger workforce, and it underscores the urgent need to make necessary hiring reforms to help the federal hiring workforce meet the needs of the 21st century economy,” said Painter.
The Trump administration, however, has said it’s going to continue to invest in the federal system.
“We’re going to make good hires and we’re going get great workers,” said Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.
“So, we’re not going to let any part of that go.”
In the meantime, the report recommends that the federal agencies use an attrition rate of 50% to 60% in order to increase the hiring rate.
This means that federal employees are being hired on a daily basis, rather than in one big batch, so that they are available for jobs when they are needed, according a statement from the report’s authors.
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