Sunday, January 16, 2011

The federal govt is huge

I know that sounds like an obvious observation but until you really think about, you may not realize how big the federal govt really is. I just started working at the National Institutes of Health (which is 1 of 12 operating divisions under the Department of Health and Human Services). HHS itself is 1 of 15 federal executive departments in the United States. With me so far? So at orientation, I found out that NIH employs over 27,000 employees! NIH is the largest consumer of electricity in Montgomery County! 27,000 employees in an agency within the 10th largest (of 15) department in the US. According to, as of 2007 the federal government employed 4.2 million people! Wow! That makes them by far the largest employer in the country. For comparison, the largest private employer in the US is Walmart with 1.8 million employees. That means the federal govt employs more than twice as many employees as the largest private employer. That's some serious clout.