Monthly Archives: August 2012

Today’s job report, stronger than expected, shows public sector job growth continues. So why is unemployment up? Congress and its self fulfilling prophecy.

While private sector job growth continues with 172,000 new jobs, the best in five months, some political groups howl how the economy is horible. While far from out of trouble we are certainly heading in the right direction and for a sustained period. The howling comes from those who want to blame the other party, and have played their obstructionist games in congress. While private sector jobs grow accounting for all the job gains, some in DC keep cutting government jobs and in doing so create further instability in the workforce. This month government payrolls dropped by 9,000, as local governments laid off teachers and others.

Let’s look at where we would be if the public sector had retained jobs at the previous (Bush) administration levels.

The lesson appears to be that the obstructionists in Washington are making their own truth in cutting jobs at our expense. In less kind words, they are making unemployment bad so they can say unemployment is bad. Yes the unemployment would be significantly lower if our government had retained the same numbers of workers it had when our current president, Obama took office.

Here are some of the real numbers in thousands of persons:

(Source: St. Louis Fed, author calculations)


What all this means is that the sound bites we’re being fed by special interest groups telling us how much the government has grown during this administration don’t stand up to the facts. There has NOT been a massive expansion of government, in terms of either spending or hiring. “Sadly for fiscal conservatives, the biggest surge in government spending came during the last two years of President George W. Bush’s eight years in office (2007-2008).” Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore op-ed in the WSJ Obama’s Real Spending Record]