When Government Gets Too Big

There was one part of the economy that’s doing pretty well, according to the August job report. Unemployment among government workers is at 5.1 percent, the lowest in the nation.

The nation may have gotten a terrible jobs report for August, but there was one part of the economy that’s doing pretty well. Unemployment among government workers is at 5.1 percent, the lowest in the nation.

The unemployment rate for government wage and salaries workers dropped from 5.7 percent in July to 5.1 percent in August. At the same time, the number of government wage and salary workers counted as unemployed dropped by 123,000 people from 1,182,000 in July to 1,059,000 in August.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts someone as a government wage and salary worker if they are not in the military and they are currently employed by any level of government—local, state or federal—or they are unemployed, they are looking for work and their last job was for any level of government.
If the job participation rate (the number of Americans considered to be in the work force) were the same as when President Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.2 percent. We are now at the lowest level of civilian employment as a percent of the total since we began keeping statistics.  Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a relationship between the lack of civilian jobs and the increase in government employment.

For every new program that Local, State or Federal government initiates, there is a new bureaucracy and wave of hiring. If you’re not in government and not in the half that pays no taxes, you’re paying for it.

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Just Nasty and Mean September 12, 2012 at 02:02 AM
There is absolutely NOTHING in this jobs report that could be considered positive. Job growth is STILL going negative---The country naturally produces more people entering the job force than this economy is producing. Net/Net: We are producing more unemployed each and every month. Tell me again how that is good?
Frank Jones September 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Haven't you noticed that Mike Lowry is a political hack that plays with and distorts numbers to promote his agenda. He claims that job growth of 92k is terrible, but job growth is always good! He also presents an argument that something is wrong when government unemployment is 5% while private sector is higher. The problem with his assertion is that unlike the private sector, demand for government services doesn't decrease during a recession but actually stays the same or increases. As such, it's reasonable for government unemployment to be more recession proof than the private sector. Lastly, everyone should find his final comment referring to the "50%" who don't pay taxes offensive. This "statistic" is flawed! Most of that 50% do pay taxes...payroll, sales, gas and more. They contribute to the govt! They may not pay income taxes because they simply make too little or are retired and have already paid their fair share! If you're looking for deadbeats, there are 16000 who make more than $250k but pay no US income taxes!
Pete September 12, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Look - color it any way you want - government jobs are jobs - it's the price we pay for over-regulation and bureaucracy. Like any business that is mismanaged if overhead costs are greater than revenue intake, they run in the red. If you were to lay off the all of the redundancy in the government workplace - you would flood the private sector with those job seekers. In the private sector, businesses are finally able to turn a small profit due to right sizing their business and their overheads accordingly. You have more people entering the workforce than leaving the workforce because retirees are not financially able to retire just yet. You have illegals who occupy jobs not reported - they do not factor into the numbers either since they are undocumented, so the "reported numbers" are about as fictitious as it comes.
Frank Jones September 12, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Pete...Government jobs are jobs and it's the price we pay for living in a civilized society. There is often bureaucracy and wasteful spending in the private sector - they're not just limited to just the government. Businesses are turning a profit and have been turning a profit as real wages have been flat for 20 years and many businesses are having their salaried employees work more than 40 hours. Illegals are a problem; however, the businesses that hire them are the bigger problem! Home owners who hire illegals are also a problem! To solve our fiscal problems...eliminate preferential taxation of certain income (i.e. capital gains/dividends), limit amounts that can be deferred into IRA/401K/retirement accounts, tax foreign earnings of businesses, close the tax gap by requiring 1099's for all business purchases > $1,000, limit charitable deductions to $50,000 per year, limit mortgage interest to $30-40K per year, limit miscellaneous itemized deductions to $10-20K per year, eliminate bonus depreciation and curtail section 179 deductions, tax gains on sale of personal residences, subject stock options to payroll taxes, limit the foreign tax credits used by high net worth citizens, tax unrecognized gains of appreciated assets given to charity, close the carried interest "loophole", reduce military spending...I can keep going.
BStein September 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM
What Mike Lowry...the political hack refuses to recognize is that government spending and taxes are at their lowest levels since Dwight Eisenhower....that's a fact. No matter whether you believe Lowry's opinion is correct or not, it's still just one idiot's opinion.


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