WASHINGTON - With mandatory budget cuts looming, federal workers may be hanging on to the "fiscal cliff" as much as anyone else as the year comes to an end, but hundreds of thousands of them appear to be happy in their work.
The Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to revitalize the federal government, surveyed all of the 2.1 million federal workers. More than 700,000 workers, or 97 percent of the federal workforce, responded.
Among large federal agencies, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was ranked as the best place to work. The agency boasts plenty of employees on the ground, and while it recently ended its space shuttle program, it's still preparing for future manned spaceflight and sends astronauts to the International Space Station.
NASA also was recognized last month for having the most satisfied federal workers, according to the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.
Max Stier, president and chief executive officer of the Partnership for Public Service, says the agencies with good leadership appeared to rank higher.
"When you have good leadership that's committed to making sure their employees are getting what they need to do the job well, you're going have a well run organization," he says.
"And that's what they have at NASA," he says.
NASA workers have endured pay freezes and cut backs along with much of the federal workforce.
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden issued a written response to the survey. It reads in part:
"Those of us who work every day to maintain America's leadership in space have always known that NASA is the best place to work - on or off the planet."
Of the 362 agencies and sub-components surveyed, the huge Department of Homeland Security was ranked worst by its own workers.
Here are the rankings for the top five best places to work, based on agency size:
|Ranking||Large Agencies||Mid-Size Agencies||Small Agencies|
|1||NASA||FDIC||Surface Transportation Board|
|2||Intelligence Community||GAO||Congressional Budget Office|
|3||Dept. of State||NRC||Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service|
|4||Dept. of Commerce||Smithsonian||Peace Corps|
|5||EPA||FTC||National Endowment for the Humanities|
Here are all of the rankings of the Best Places to Work in the federal government and how they've changed since last year.
This story has been modified to reflect that NASA still undertakes manned spaceflight.
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