Something about the employment numbers has been nagging at me for a while. Every month, the growth in employment comes from the private sector, and government employment falls. This — during a Democratic administration denounced as “big government” by Republicans and Tea Partiers.
Let me say that again: throughout the Obama administration, government employment has fallen steadily — from 22,555,000 in 2009 to 22,490,000 in 2010 to 22,104,000 in 2011 to 20,676,000 in July 2012. That’s almost two million jobs gone — teachers, firefighters, road crews, parks and recreation workers, and all the other jobs deemed non-essential in the on-going budget-cutting.
In contrast, private sector employment has grown. After hitting the low point of 104,933,000 in January 2010, private sector employment has increased steadily to July’s 112,192,000.
What would happen to the economy if, instead of firing government employees, we hired them back? What would happen if two million government jobs were restored?
Government workers are real workers, and they spend real money, pay real taxes, and build the economy. Cutting jobs is a drag on the economy, whether the workers are police officers or auto workers. The way to end the recession is to hire workers and maintain jobs, not to keep on cutting.
[NOTE: Numbers are from Bureau of Labor Statistics – not seasonally adjusted.]
[And yes – I realize it’s not as simple as waving a magic wand and rehiring workers, but the intent of this post is to highlight the elephant in the room: the continual attrition of government employment and services, and its decidedly negative effect on employment and economic activity.]