The Federal Government

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener inspects a bag at the San Francisco International Airport. The Federal government is a very secure place to work, even in recessionary periods.

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A report by USA Today found that workers in many federal agencies are more likely to die than lose their job. The federal government job security rate was 99.43 percent in 2010, meaning only about half of 1 percent of the federal workforce was fired or laid off. In the private sector, an average of 3 percent of workers are fired for poor performance each year, and that doesn't include layoffs [source: Cauchon].

And despite the recession and spending cuts, the federal government is actively hiring new employees. In 2012, the government hired about 90,000 people, and there were still nearly 8,000 open job listings on USAjobs.gov, the federal government job board, as of October 2013 [source: Shin]. A major reason for the hiring boom is a rapidly aging federal workforce; more than 260,000 federal workers are older than 60 [source: Shin].

State and local government job security is an entirely different story. During the Great Recession consumers cut spending which affected state and local tax revenue. Faced with budget crises, many states enacted steep budget cuts. Even as the economy slowly recovered in the first half of 2010, state and local governments cut 95,000 jobs while the private sector added nearly 600,000 [source: Leonard]. By late 2013, however, local and state jobs appeared to be bouncing back, especially in the education sector [source: Shah].