Job Growth Facts Conveniently Ignored

Employment - photo by Jeremy Sternberg

The stimulus failed. Obama has failed. Get government out-of-the-way. Government needs to take it’s foot off the neck of corporations. Any of this sound familiar? It’s just a small sampling of the nonsense you hear from the Right, particularly Republican presidential candidates.

Private sector job growth has been positive every month since the official end of the recession in June 2009. In contrast, public sector (government) jobs have been in a downward trend since the second half of 2008. Do people on the Right understand that when they talk about small government and cutting back government that means cutting real jobs? From June 2009 to July of this year the public sector has shed almost half a million jobs. During that same period the private sector created over 1 million jobs.

Each month when we read about a new jobs report and see a modest net increase of jobs, keep in mind that the private sector number is usually larger. In each month since the beginning of the recovery, private sector growth has been offset to some degree by public sector losses. The total net increase is around half a million jobs but if not for the public sector losses it would be double that.

Something else to pay attention to are the revisions released a month later – usually with much less fanfare. These revisions have been quite positive on private sector growth recently. For example, the initial August report showed zero net jobs created (17,000 private sector added – 17,000 public sector lost). The first revision showed a total net gain of 57,000. The final revision showed a total net gain of 104,000 jobs. Again, the initial report said zero! Looking at the first revision for September shows an increase from the initial report of 55,000 (103,000 to 158,000).

What is the conservative response to this steady but weak job growth? Less government and less spending. Really? That’s it huh? Basically the government needs to do nothing – well, except cut taxes and layoff more government workers – and magically we will have massive job growth. If you believe this then I’m afraid you are blinded by ideology.

If you objectively look at the facts on the ground it would be difficult to conclude that less government and less spending along with less taxes would equate to economic expansion and job growth. If the economy is bad, companies spend less and people spend less. The only entity with the dexterity to spend more is government. This doesn’t take a degree in economics. Our economy is fueled by consumption, hence demand. Forget the supply side nonsense from the Right. It’s bullshit. The supply will always ramp up to meet the demand. There is just too much money to be made for that not to happen. Government can spend in targeted ways that fuels demand which leads to increased manufacturing and production to meet that demand.

Sorry conservatives and Republican presidential candidates, your conveniently packaged sound bites don’t reflect reality.

And sorry mass media, you do a horrible job of correcting the record.


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