The sequester cuts are now officially in place, but many government agencies appear to be hiring freely anyway.
The U.S. Forest Service on Monday posted help-wanted ads for a few good men and women to work as “recreation aides” this summer, the Internal Revenue Service advertised for an office secretary in Maryland, the U.S. Mint wanted 24 people to help press coins, and the Agriculture Department said it needs three “insect production workers” to help grow bollworms in Phoenix.
Monday marked the first regular workday under sequestration, and federal agencies posted more than 400 job ads by 6 p.m.
At a time when nearly all of those agencies are contemplating furloughs, the help-wanted ads raised questions about how agencies should decide between saving through attrition or letting people go.
“Every position you don’t fill that isn’t absolutely necessary is one less person that needs to be furloughed,” said Steve Ellis, vice president at Taxpayers for Common Sense — though he said some positions that people leave need to be filled in order to meet agencies’ core missions.