With Office of Management and Budget fact sheets in hand, President Obama warned of dire cutbacks and consequences should sequestration go into effect March 1.
The cuts happened, White House tours have been halted, and the administration swears it’s not overreacting to the bare-bones budget directive.
But in the days since the hammer of sequestration fell, the federal government is hiring anew.
A search tonight of the USA Jobs federal employment website, filtered to positions in the United States and posted over the past 10 days, yielded 2,596 results.
This includes 107 positions at the Department of Homeland Security, which has claimed cutbacks have resulted in everything from a more taxing security line at airports to the need to free illegal immigrant detainees.
Jobs included transportation security officers in rural areas, a library technician in Baltimore, a recreational boating safety specialist in Cleveland, natural hazards program specialists in Denton, Texas, and various program analyst positions in the D.C. area. Various six-figure supervisory jobs are also open.
One hundred and fifteen jobs have been posted since sequestration began for the Agriculture Department, which warned of Americans falling ill from tainted food due to short staffing should sequestration go into effect.
Jobs posted included soil technicians, a recreation forestry technician in Sedona, Ariz., a dairy grader in Winnsboro, Texas, an archaeologist in McCall, Idaho, and a social science analyst.
The highest number of job postings since sequestration went into effect is at the Department of Veterans Affairs, with 909 new openings at the time of publication. The OMB painted a grim picture of tens of thousands of homeless vets being returned to the streets due to the budget cuts.
As the OMB warned Indian tribes would lose nearly $130 million in funding from the Interior Department, 115 new jobs have been posted in the sequestration era including multiple park guides to stock up for the summer, a museum aide, plant technicians, and more.
And while the White House warned of hundreds of furloughed federal prosecutors and a thousand fewer criminal cases being brought to court each year, the Justice Department has 46 new job postings including a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Attorneys, a law librarian, a trial attorney, and a deputy chief for the civil rights division.
New job postings at random agencies include a six-figure IT specialist at the Railroad Retirement Board, an exhibition aid for the National Gallery of Art, an Albanian-language broadcaster, and a space-assignment technician at the National Archives.
The office of the president is advertising for a management analyst, with a salary of $51,630 to $97,333 per year, to provide “assistance, research, advice and consultation on a full scope of administrative, managerial and financial projects in support of the Office of Administration.” Relocation assistance is not included.
If anyone does want to complain about sequestration job losses, though, the Office of Personnel Management is hiring a customer service specialist for its call center.
Last week, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) wrote to Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients, noting that many nonessential federal job postings were still going up despite pressure on the office to warn agencies that hiring activity should be scrutinized in the face of sequestration.
On the first business day after sequestration, 606 new jobs were posted on the USA Jobs site.
“While some of these positions may be essential to the mission of the agency, others plainly are not,” Coburn wrote. “…According to OMB, the average annual salary for a government employee is around $76,000. This means that the average new hire equates to a one week furlough for 52 current government employees.”
Jobs found by Coburn on March 4 and highlighted in the letter to Zients included 23 openings that included “recreation” in the title and a historian for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
“While the Air Force may need leadership for its museums and history programs, and the USDA may need to keep its literature in order, those needs should take a back seat to the dire threat to public health and safety that some have claimed will result from sequestration,” Coburn wrote. “Canceling the opening for the librarian position at USDA could offset one week of furloughs for as many as 104 to 156 food inspectors.”
Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.