Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 8, 2010

PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB GROWTH.... In the previous post, we talked about the new monthly jobs report, with the chart we've all come to know and love. But following up on the tradition we started last month, many of you have emailed to suggest it's time for a slightly different chart -- one showing just the private sector job market.

To be clear, public-sector jobs count, and it's absurd to suggest otherwise. When workers lose their jobs, it's devastating for them, and it undermines economic growth for everyone -- whether the job was paid for by taxpayers or not. The problem is, the rise and fall of Census Bureau jobs can offer a skewed picture -- some months, such as May 2010, look better than they should, because the monthly total is exaggerated by hundreds of thousands of Census jobs. Other months, such as June 2010, are distorted in the other direction, looking worse than they should.

Of course, those who work for the Census Bureau count, too, and those who've lost these temp jobs will obviously want to find new employment. The point is, the gain and loss of these Census jobs were predictable and set out in advance, and don't really tell us much about the larger employment landscape.

In September, the economy lost 159,000 jobs from the public sector -- about half of which came from the loss of temporary Census workers. At the same time, the private sector added 64,000 jobs, which is down from the previous month, and not even close to what we'd like to see from the economy, but the total was largely in line with expectations.

It was the ninth consecutive month of private-sector growth, tepid and underwhelming though it may be. All told, the economy has added 863,000 private-sector jobs in 2010*. For comparison purposes, note that the economy lost nearly 4.7 million private-sector jobs in 2009, and lost 3.8 million in 2008.

With that in mind, here is a different homemade chart, showing monthly job losses/gains in the private sector since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction -- red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.

privatejobs_sep10.jpg

* Update: I originally understated the annual totals by 10,000, and the post is now corrected.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (9)

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Comments

The private sector could be generating a lot more jobs than they are now but instead they are simply investing in their own stocks, their own bottom line.

Why does big business hate America?

Posted by: citizen_pain on October 8, 2010 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Is there any way you can provide hyperlinks to specific posts on Political Animal? There are so many individual entries I would like to link to, but can't. There's useful stuff in there, and it tends to get lost in the shuffle as new entries come along.

Your two items this morning on the jobs data, with the charts, are examples of items I - and no doubt others - would love to disseminate further, spread the word.

Can you do that, please? It would be great.

Posted by: kevmo on October 8, 2010 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

kevmo - Click on the blue "Permalink" button.

Posted by: Old School on October 8, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the quick turn around - this does help complete the picture for me.

Posted by: Rick on October 8, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

A little known fact is that almost 100% of the job growth under Bush was in public jobs. There was basically 0% net increase in private sector employment during his eight years.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on October 8, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"A little known fact is that almost 100% of the job growth under Bush was in public jobs. There was basically 0% net increase in private sector employment during his eight years."

Thanks, I wondered about that.

But George Will should be happy. He thinks governments at all leaves should fire people if the private sector fired people.

Posted by: Lance on October 8, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing how the chart used to show private and government job numbers. Now that including those government numbers "pulls the bikini down", we change the chart to only private job numbers. Looking at total job creation on the original chart, things don't look so good. A job is a job is a job, and all numbers should be included. This is nothing more than political spin.

Posted by: jeff on October 19, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Now you should post the chart that actually shows the ten years in question. it tells a much differant tale.

Posted by: Joel on October 24, 2010 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see both the public and private growth rate trend graphs AS well as the aggregate. Why yes, I am a data nerd.

Posted by: Ken Y on November 3, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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