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Federal Reserve System employment since 1915

New insights from the Research Division of the St. Louis Fed

The FRED Blog has used data from many different sources to discuss the work conducted by the Federal Reserve System to promote the health of the US economy and the stability of the US financial system. Today, we highlight the workforce employed all across the Federal Reserve System that perform the day-to-day operations supporting the Fed’s key functions.

The FRED graph above shows data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics about the number of persons employed by the monetary authority, the central bank, of the United States. The data span January 1, 1990, through August 1, 2023—the latest available observation at the time of this writing. The number of people employed by the Federal Reserve system peaked slightly above 24,000 in early 1991, bottoming out at roughly 17,000 persons 11 years later.

Recent research from Genevieve Podleski, Jonathan Rose, and Jona Whipple at the St Louis Fed stretches back those employment data to 1915, the year after the Federal Reserve System was founded and records are available. Their work shows that the all-time peak of Fed employment was recorded in the early 1970s. The size of the work force has increased and decreased over the years, as the nature and scope of the day-to-day operations of the Federal Reserve System has evolved over time.

For more about this and other research, visit the website of the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, which offers an array of economic analysis and expertise provided by our staff.

How this graph wase created: Search FRED for and select “All Employees, Monetary Authorities-Central Bank.”

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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