The New York Times shows how lagging government employment and investment has the US economy treading water.
The United States economy has finally exceeded its pre-recession employment peak, as many analysts of today’s jobs report have noted. But that milestone obscures two very different stories — in the private and public sectors. The public sector — federal, state and local government — still isn’t close to returning to its pre-recession employment levels.
Private-sector employment first exceeded its pre-recession jobs peak a few months ago, in March. Last month, the (nonfarm) private sector included 0.5 percent more jobs than in December 2007, when the recession began. The public sector remains well below its employment peak.
In fact, public-sector employment has barely begun to recover. It reached a recent low of 21.83 million jobs in December and now has 21.87 jobs. Many state and local governments cut jobs sharply to deal with budget deficits during the recession. The federal government also employs somewhat fewer people than it did in December 2007.