Industry Outlook

Although there is always the possibility of staff cutbacks on local, regional, and federal levels, opportunities in politics will remain strong. The government will always require fairly extensive staffing to accomplish its work, but budget concerns will determine how many aides are hired for congressional staff work. In coming years, more of the congressional aide positions will be consolidated, and aides will be performing a number of different duties, from press relations to legislative research.

Overall, the federal government employed approximately 2.2 million civilian workers, excluding the Postal Service, in 2019. Approximately 20 million people were employed by state and local governments, with the majority (nearly 15 million) employed by local governments.

Careers in politics are affected by the issues of the day. Current needs, such as public safety, aggression against terrorism, protection of the environment, providing for increased populations, and cultural diversity, will likely become more urgent. The Internet, smartphones, tablets, and other communication technologies will continue to require special attention as the government attempts to pass laws concerning privacy issues, copyright protection, and federal involvement in TV and radio broadcasting. Health care, taxation, education, and human rights will always be near the top of political agendas.

The agencies of the Foreign Service and the number of Foreign Service officers hired will be affected by the closing of embassies and consulates around the world. The relations between the United States and other countries will determine funding for international affairs.

The Internet and social media have become another resource for political research, public opinion polling, campaigning, and rumors. Candidates, consultants, and campaign workers will continue to use the Internet and social media as carefully as they have the broadcast media. Voters will be better informed about issues at hand and bills up for consideration by their state and federal lawmakers.

Between March and May of 2020, local government jobs declined by about 8 percent, due to restrictions on in-person gatherings to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China in 2020. Many of these layoffs were structured as temporary rather than permanent. Government institutions wished to remain stable during this period and provide services. Many shifted to remote working platforms to allow employees to work from home. Moving foreword, many government agencies may continue to have telework programs for their employees post pandemic. As described in a Federal Times article, "Retaining robust telework after the pandemic also poses the opportunity to expand federal hiring opportunities to employees that are physically distant from federal offices, which would save money on both locality costs and office space."

The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the gross domestic product will grow by 3.7 percent in 2021, and at an average rate of 2.6 percent from 2021 through 2025. An optimistic outlook for the U.S. economy is due to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020 and early 2021. The unemployment rate was as high as nearly 15 percent in mid-2020, however, and although the economy is starting to rebound, it will take a while for the job market to recover. In early 2021, unemployment was at 5.3 percent, and the CBO predict it will drop to 4 percent from 2024 through 2025. "The unemployment rate gradually declines through 2026, and the number of employed people returns to its pre-pandemic level in 2024."