How Many Archaeologists are Employed by the US Federal Government?
If you have ever asked yourself this question? If so I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management keeps track of such information, which anyone can access at FedScope. The bad news is that it is not necessarily clear cut as to who is an archaeologist.
Difference Between 0193 and 0102
Archaeologists are employed in two primary positions in the US Federal Government to undertake archaeological related work. I say primary because we archaeologists tend to be flexible in the sort of employment we carry out. An archaeologist might as easily be employed as an architectural historian, a curator, a researcher, an anthropologist, and so forth. I was at one point employed by the Federal Government as a Museum Aid working on the Chaco Canyon and related collections. All of us employed, at that time, in the collections had degrees in archaeology and considered ourselves archaeologists though we were employed as collections specialists. At best these numbers only represent those with the title of archaeologists and as I will demonstrate in a moment that is not always a clear.
One of the positions that archaeologists are employed in is the aptly named 0193 Archaeologist, with the numbers being the federal code given to the position of archaeologist. Those employed in these positions tend to be older, employed by the government for several years, and higher paid than the other position. Essentially, they are the permanent workforce of archaeologists for the Federal Government.
The second position archaeologists are employed in is the Social Science Aid and Technician 0102 position. While the 0193 positions tend to be permanent the 0102 posts tend to be seasonal. This position is essentially the hired summer workforce for the Federal Government. Though this is not 100% true as some 0102 positions are permanent and some 0193 are temporary. Thus permanent vs. seasonal is more of a generalization.
The problem with using 0102 positions to estimate the number of archaeologists is that they positions are not just filled by archaeologists. For example, the Department of Veteran Affairs advertises for Peer Specialists under the 0102 category, a job that does not involve archaeology. However, I examined job postings for 0102 positions on the USAjobs website and found that the Departments of Agriculture and Interior for the most part advertise temporary Archaeology Technician positions in this category, occasional a non-archaeology positions is advertised under the 0102 category but this is rare. Thus if we only look at the 0102 positions from these Departments it is possible to get a rough idea of the number of seasonal archaeologists the Federal Government employs. I say rough as with the information available it is not possible to be exact but these numbers are probably a good indication of the actual numbers give or take a few positions.
So how many archaeologists are there? In total about 1550 in 2013, though about 330 of those are 0102 which are seasonal (but not all). These numbers are not cumulative but a rough estimation of the number employed at any one time. Also the whole issue of some 0102 positions being non-archaeological (The Federal Gov actually employs around 1000 of them but these numbers are the only ones that might be archaeologists).
Here are the numbers for 0193s over the years:
Here are the numbers for 0102s:
and here are there combined totals:
The 0102 positions tend to have the wildest swings in employment from a low of under 300 in 2006 to a high of 530 only three years later in 2009. That is a change of 80% in three years. Not that surprising considering that it is seasonal work.
Employment for archaeologists in the Federal Government appears to benefit from economical recessions. Following the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions the number of archaeologists employed jumped significantly before eventually falling. Given that the data covers such a brief period of time it will take many more years and more recessions before this can be confirmed, currently this is just a speculative observation I have.
I have been digging into the FedScope data and will be posting more information as I make my way through it. Here is the raw data for this post-
|0102 Social Science Aid and Technician||374||382||343||407||442||424||403||365|
|0102 Social Science Aid and Technician||294||348||429||530||518||440||444||327|