Allegheny County is home to more than 23,000 federal employees and retirees who contribute to its economy and potentially could be affected if sequestration budget cuts are enacted today.
The numbers shown here reflect the number of federal employees in each Pennsylvania by county in 2012, according to the latest figures from Eye on Washington, a DC-based lobbying firm that tracks federal employment.
It compiles the data from the Office of Personnel Management, Federal Employment Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Of the 23,229 federal employees and retirees who live in Allegheny County, the greatest number—9,818—are retirees, according to the data. Veterans Affairs employs 3,564 county residents, and Defense or Human Services agencies employ 1,873 others. While the cuts will affect veterans programs, they are not specifically affecting Veterans Affairs or its employees.
Others work for the Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, Commerce, Labor, Energy and other departments or for Social Security offices. The 4,802 U.S. Postal Service employees wlll not be affected by sequestration cuts because the postal service receives no tax dollars in its operations.
While much has been made written on how the current sequestration battle in Washington could affect the national economy, these numbers are meant to offer a sense of the sequestration and its potential effect at the local level.
No one knows for certain what the sequestration cuts, some $85 billion, will mean exactly.
Even if the federal cuts are enacted today, the full effects would not be felt immediately.The government is required to alert impacted agencies of what cuts are to be made and what workers are to be furloughed.
It should be noted, however, that even the suggestion of cuts and the notification process itself could be felt in some community economies. Uncertainty for federal workers means they are likely to tighten their belts until they see what the cuts look like—and how long they last.
It means those workers will likely spend less money at local shops and restaurants.
In some communities with only a handful of federal workers, the impact may be small. But, as these figures show, in other counties where federal employees numbers in the thousands, the sequestration could become a more significant pain—particularly if it drags on for weeks or months.