The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last Friday that 80,000 jobs were added to the American economy last month, ticking the unemployment rate down slightly to 9 percent. The 80,000 added is a net gain, factoring in 104,000 private jobs added and 24,000 public sector jobs lost. Today on ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will said people losing their public sector jobs is a good thing:
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Let me turn to you George and ask you about the unemployment numbers. Is that something of a trend or is that scratching the surface? What difference is that going to make?
WILL: Not much. First of all, 80,000 isn’t nearly enough to accomodate even the natural growth month by month of the workforce. There are two bits of good news in there. The 80,000 is a net number. The private sector created 104,000 jobs. The public sector happily shrank by 24,000 jobs. Both of that’s good.
Watch the clip:
Conservatives rejoice at public sector job loss because they think it will spur private job creation (and also fulfill their collective fantasy of controlling the ever encroaching tentacles of the federal government). But the reality is that public sector losses are equaling out private sector gains and thus holding back a wider recovery. And as Matt Yglesias has noted, public sector job loss over the last yeah and a half has not been “delivering any private sector magic.” Federal, state and local governments have shed hundreds of thousands of jobs over the past year alone while the percentage of millionaires grew by 20 percent. And as the AP noted, the public job “losses add strain” on the overall economic recovery.
“As we’ve seen that federal support for states diminish, you’ve seen the biggest job losses in the public sector — teachers, police officers, firefighters losing their jobs,” President Obama said this summer trying to push his jobs plan that Republicans continually object to.
But to George Will, this is all a good thing; he celebrates when Americans lose their jobs with the unemployment rate stagnant at 9 percent.