In an achievement brought on by the patience-testing work of filing a FOIA request, BuzzFeed has received the payroll records of federal employees dating back to 1973. That’s almost 30 gigabytes of info comprising “hundreds of millions of rows,” according to BuzzFeed News reporter Jeremy Singer-Vine, who writes that the information comes out of two FOIA requests filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in September 2014 and December 2015. Two or three years to get that information? Seems about right, unfortunately.
Far from keeping the data to itself, BuzzFeed is sharing with anyone who wants to take a look and crunch some numbers. It’s available for download on the Internet Archive.
Singer-Vine has even offered some helpful starter questions from which to begin your exploration:
How have changes in federal employment compared with broader demographic changes in the nation?
What do career trajectories look like in federal government?
Do some agencies have more of a “revolving door” than others?
Which federal gigs have the best job security?
What type of employee is most likely to quit during a presidential transition?
Do healthcare outcomes decline at VA hospitals after spikes in retirements or resignations?
Do salmonella outbreaks decrease after the USDA hires more food inspectors?
Are younger air traffic controllers correlated with higher accident rates?
The data goes up to late 2016. BuzzFeed has filed another request for more updated info, but if you’re hoping for some Trump administration information, it might be faster to wait for a leak.