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Who’s the largest employer in the U.S.?

When people hear that question, they tend to think of giant companies, like Wal-Mart, General Electric and McDonald’s. But the runaway leader isn’t a giant company. In fact, it’s not even a company.

With approximately 2.7 million civilian employees, the U.S. government is the largest employer in the country. For reference, Wal-Mart has 2.2 million employees worldwide. While this number reveals the enormity of the federal government, it doesn’t tell the full story of where these 2.7 million people work. After all, the U.S. government consists of dozens of departments and agencies, each with distinct goals and purposes.

That’s why the team at InsideGov decided to take a deeper look at employment in the U.S. government. Using data from the Office of Personnel Management, we found the 10 government departments and agencies that had the most employees in September 2013. Non-civilians, like uniformed military personnel, are not included in these figures.

It’s also important to note that these numbers only include federal personnel. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that with state and local government positions, the total number of government employees in the U.S. jumps to over 21.8 million.

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