The Government Is Hiring: Who and Where

By Jason Kay on 2 April 2010 12 comments

With unemployment hitting some scary levels as of late there seems to be one entity that is almost unaffected by the trend: the government. The government is not only continuing its strong hiring that it conducts each year, but bucking the employment trend, the government is also getting ready to add more jobs. Yes, the government is boning up to do some massive hiring. If you are in the job market for a government job, this may be a great opportunity for you.

It makes sense, when you think about it. After all, the federal government is the nation's leading employer, and no matter what the economic environment may be, there are always going to be government jobs that are considered "mission critical" and therefore must always be filled. But along with the tons of mission critical jobs, the government is also seeking to add to its employee field about 193,000 new jobs over the next couple of years, according to Partnership for Public Service.

These new jobs that will be made available will be in many different areas of expertise, and even if you have zero experience as a government employee, those with the right set of skills and living in the right place may be eligible to start an exciting new career with the federal government. Using information from Partnership for Public Service, here are the five fields that are expected to explode over the next couple of years:

  • Protection, Security, Compliance, and Enforcement (62,863 new jobs)
  • Public and Medical Health (35,350 new jobs)
  • Budget, Business, and Accounting (21,248 new jobs)
  • Science and Engineering (17,477 new jobs)
  • Analysis, Administration, and Program Management (14,305 new jobs)

These fields will represent a wealth of new job openings at the government level, and they only scratch the surface. The government will need to further continue to fill its other various jobs, and it is being suggested that, as the next couple of years shape up, there may even be more new job growth than is currently expected.

The next logical question then is: Where are all these federal government job openings going to be? Yes, the government will be hiring nationwide, but there are obviously going to be certain areas of the country that will fill more of the positions than the others. The larger metro areas of the United States will of course offer more in the way of a need for government jobs to be filled, but some of the top ten places for government hiring may in fact surprise you. Using data from 2008, here is a list of the top ten cities to be in or around if you are hoping to cash in on the government job hiring spree.

1. Washington D.C.

No shock here really, as D.C. is the home of the government and much of the important government work that gets done in the United States. In 2008, Washington D.C. saw almost 1.5 million job postings. While the number may be different this year, it is still sure to be up there.

2. San Antonio, Texas

In 2008, San Antonio saw about 350,000 job postings. Obviously, this pales in comparison to D.C., but the number of openings still represents a lot of opportunity.

3. Atlanta, Georgia

Here is a name you would expect to see near the top. In 2008, Atlanta only lagged behind San Antonio by about 30,000 job postings and is bound to be the home of a good number of the new positions that the government is looking to fill in the next couple of years.

4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In 2008, Philly offered up 190,000 government job postings. The city that is known for its Cheese Steaks is also a great place to be if you are trying to gain government employment.

5. New York, New York

2008 saw 181,000 job postings for the big city, and there are sure to be a number of new security jobs that are going to be flooding in over the next couple of years.

6. Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas

As you can see, Texas is certainly a goodarea to be in if you are on the hunt for a government job. This particular area saw 180,000 job postings in 2008 and will more than likely continue to thrive.

7. Baltimore, Maryland

Along with some really good crab cakes, Baltimore is also the place to be if you are seeking government work. In 2008, the Baltimore area saw 175,000 job postings.

8. Tampa, Florida

In 2008, Tampa offered up 170,000 job postings. It just goes to show you can have a good opportunity for government employment and still enjoy some fun in the sun.

9. Chicago, Illinois

In 2008, the city of Chicago saw 169,000 government job postings. Chicago is another city that should be getting an increase of the new security jobs that will be made available in the next couple of years.

10. Los Angeles, California

Rounding out the top ten is L.A. home to the stars and 150,000 job postings in 2008. L.A. offers plenty of opportunity for those looking to work for the federal government.

Keep in mind that these cities only represent the top ten in the country. With all the additional openings coming available over the next couple of years, there really never has been a better time to be seeking a government job. While you don't have to live in one of the cities mentioned or be a pro at one of the fields mentioned to land government work, if you have one or both factors going for you it certainly will not hurt your chances any.

Sometimes it pays to be informed. Take some time to check out what your area has to offer by way of government job postings. You may be surprised with what you find. Remember, just because the rest of the job market is not so great right now, it doesn't mean that the government is planning on slowing down — so you may as well take advantage of this fact and try your luck with a government job.

This is a guest post by Jason Kay. Jason is a professional resume writer and owner of, a career advice website specializing in providing government job application assistance and advice. Read more about writing resumes for government jobs:

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Xin Lu's picture
Xin Lu

It is kind of sad that private sector jobs have been decreasing and government is getting bigger.  However, government jobs do have good benefits and can be a good part of retirement planning due to the availability of pensions.  My mom moved to the public sector after many years in the private sector, and her advice is to get used to the bureaucracy and try not to care too much. 

Guest's picture

I'm a regular here, but in the interests of keeping my job, I'm going to post anonymously. I'm a fed in DC, and I have to say, federal jobs are great in terms of benefits - but they can be absolutely soul sucking. As someone just beginning their 30's, I'm still young and idealistic, apparently, which means that the bureaucracy still really really grates on me.

That said, as my coworkers and I remind ourselves, we really like paychecks, and we're so thankful to be employed. And we're always looking for a new job.

Guest's picture

I work for small local government, and while the benefits are decent, the pay is just ok. Unfortunately I was downsized out of a company I had worked with for 25 years. I consider it a blessing to have the stability, and won't have to worry about looking for another job. Because at age 56, it is very difficult, even in an area with better than average employment rates. The job itself is mind-numbing, however, so that is definitely one of the downsides.

Guest's picture

These announcements about the feds hiring are not accurate. Sure, they CLAIM to be hiring more people but the incompetence that is rife in the government is clearly demonstrated in their hiring process. MANY in the DC area have been given firm job offers, strung along with a promised start date for months and then told their "tentative" offer was nullified. This is after people have turned down other jobs because they had a FIRM, NON-TENTATIVE offer from the feds.

The fed employees are not held accountable for their inability to perform their jobs, they hide behind the fed bureaucracy and continue to do NOTHING at their desks all day. Sure, there are a few- like 15% at best- that actually give half a crap about doing a good job but the rest are just sucking on the taxpayers who are required to perform to keep their jobs- unlike the feds.

Be careful- if you are accustomed to working and performing and being rewarded for doing a god job- throw those ideas out the window. You will be shunned, ridiculed, and mocked for your farcical belief that you actually have to WORK while in the government employ.

However, if you enjoy sitting on your lazy, unproductive butt all day getting paid the same if you put forth any effort or not, then a government job is for you. If you enjoy the priveledge of ignoring people, "working" your own hours, taking 3 hour lunches and weeks of vacation from your non-job, then being a fed might be for you. If you want to join the feast of laziness, sloth, gluttony, greed and fraud that is government employment, then be sure to sell your soul before joining the party.

Guest's picture
Anonymous Fed

I'm the Guest from post #2, and I just have to respond to this latest complaint against Federal employees. We hear all the time that we're lazy and incompetent and sure, I'm sure there are lazy, incompetent feds out there. I can't say that's the norm in my agency. I would love to make my own hours and take 3 hour lunches. But I can't. I work 8 hour days, plus I get a 30 minute unpaid lunch (on the days that I can actually get away from my desk). By law, like every other full time employee, I get 2 15 minute breaks, but I can't tell you the last time I got to take them. If I want to get supplies (say, a new notebook or a pad of paper for taking notes in a meeting), I have to get two signatures and explain why I need this paper. Most of the time, I buy my own. I'm not complaining - that's just how it is. But my experience is the norm for my coworkers as well, and living in DC, I know people in other agencies who deal with the same thing. We're continually reminded not to waste time and money because it belongs to the taxpayer. I'm definitely held accountable for doing a good job and for getting my work done, no matter how much time it takes me (overtime pay - nope, none of that here, which is fine, but non-feds automatically think if I do overtime, my paycheck must be awesome). Sure, it's harder for them to fire a federal employee, but they have their ways. Now sure, you're going to hear stories of agencies wasting money. But it's not the norm. There are more than 15% of us who are working hard and who would like to actually make a difference. It's insulting and offensive when so many people believe we're stupid and lazy. I will confirm the hiring fiasco that goes on though. It's ridiculous. It's too easy to get strung along. Apparently, the politicals in government want to change that, but we're not seeing any sort of change. I was lucky in a way. I got hired into a job, got a start date, started, and found out hey, my job was eliminated. So the agency stuck me elsewhere, in a job that made me want to claw my brain out. But I got paid, and I had work to do, even if it was totally mindnumbing. Even if the process goes as it should, it still takes forever. I just got word that my application is still in review for a job that I applied for in mid-November. And this isn't even unusual.

Guest's picture

The private sector is dying but the public sector is exploding! Where do you think your paychecks ultimately come from? There was a woman in my area who won the lottery some years ago. She thought it was limitless but found out the hard way that it wasn't.

Eventually sanity will have to be restored to Washington if this country is to survive. The public sector must be dramatically scaled back and the private sector unshackled. Having one's "soul sucked out" isn't the best long term plan for the transition.

Guest's picture

Yes, bigger government is coming thanks to obama. When government gets bigger and more powerful and puts more rules on businesses, the businesses suffer and go bye bye. Obamas war on prosperity continues..

Guest's picture

I was thinking about giving up my job as a pornographer to work for the Federal Government but am too worried about what my family will think.

Guest's picture

I say goto Afghanistan or Mexico if you love no government regulations or small weak govt. easy business rules (just replace taxes with crime boss payoffs or bribes) and no government structure for services (replace police and fire with militias and your cache of everluvin guns) that
NO PRIVATE BUSINESS CAN PROVIDE without worse corruption, greed and profit based bureaucratic rules like health insurance or credit financial businesses which Wall Street has shown with it repeating CONSTANTLY in all market sectors with removed limitations or regulations, ending in boom-bust economic markets with pirates raiding the average customer citizen's pocket with lies and promises. The isn't a free market but a cowboy wildwest joke ruining the country since Reagan and the BIGGEST BLOAT BY G.W. BUSH.

Mindnumbing office administrative work is the same all over so forget jumping to a private job and escaping it.

Guest's picture

Even in the private sector there are wasteful companies and lazy employees. I work for a start up biotech company (read we don't make money - just get funding from investors) and I'm amazed at how some of the money is spent.

I think it's hard to generalize a government worker/job anyway. There are so many different areas of work - research, public health, security, budgeting....

Guest's picture

Here is a tip/idea for kitchen storage that is cool and functional: For better organization in the kitchen, build your own hanging pan rack. There was tons of creative ideas. As an example, take an old bicycle wheel, attach it to the ceiling in your kitchen then hang pot and pans one hooks. It's awesome to look at, really useful while being totally free or atleast really cheap.

Guest's picture

government is broke. Has been for years but they won't admit it. And they still hire. Amazing.

The local small city government near me is looking for $10M in credit to help meet payroll and pay it's bills. Yeah, more credit and debt will solve their problems. So they think.