¿Where did the jobs go?

Being as it is a presidential election year, the debate about jobs, private sector growth and the role and size of government are taking a good amount of space in the headlines. Job growth, in particular, hast been fairly disappointing during this recovery, specially if we look at the headline numbers.

When looking the numbers with a bit more detail, however, a different picture emerges. It turns out that job growth has been pretty decent on the private sector; in fact, faster than the dismal average during the previous decade. In the public sector, however, the picture looks much different (via):

While the private sector has been creating jobs at a steady clip, the public sector has been shedding workers at an unprecedented pace. Outside the short term boost of census hiring,   state and local governments have fired close to 600,000 workers in the last three years. Most of these jobs, incidentally, are on the education sector; we are not talking about bureaucrats, but teachers.

If the Federal government had provider more support to state and local governments (or at least enough to keep employment levels stable), unemployment would be below 8%. If government expansion would have followed the same clip as the one we had during the Clinton years (only natural, following population growth) we would be close to 7%.

The weird thing is, some people insist that what had a massive expansion of the size of government during these past three years. It is hard to see where they see it.

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