Good news and bad news for federal employees.

The good news is that 90 percent of them believe their work is important, according to the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey in which 400,000 federal employees — or half the federal workforce — participated. The Office of Personnel Management, which conducted the survey, reported that 50 percent more employees took part in the survey and that 75 percent of the responses were more positive than in last year's survey.

It's less clear, though, how to judge the level of engagement. According to the survey, 64 percent of employees are "engaged," according to a set of criteria devised by the OPM, which measures each employee's "dedication, persistence and effort" on the job. That figure has remained relatively flat over the past four years. Engagement did not differ substantially between experience levels or age.

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