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26% Say Laying Off 100,000 Federal Workers Would Help Economy, 49% Disagree

Budget worries aside, Americans aren’t prepared yet to abruptly cut the size of the government work force.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 26% of American Adults think it would be good for the economy if the federal government laid off 100,000 workers. Forty-nine percent (49%) say a layoff like that would be bad for the economy. Fourteen percent (14%) say it would have no impact, and 11% more are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Sixty-one percent (61%) of Democrats and a plurality (46%) of adults not affiliated with either of the major political parties say laying off 100,000 government workers would hurt the economy. Republicans are narrowly divided on the question.

However, 66% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a proposal to cut the federal payroll by 10% over the coming decade.

The federal government in fiscal year 2009 had 4.43 million employees, including nearly 1.6 million men and women in the armed services. USA Today reports that the average federal worker’s pay and benefits totalled $123,049 in 2009, while on average private workers made $61,051 in total compensation. It’s unclear if this finding includes military personnel.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on March 9-10, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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