The country added an additional 227,000 jobs in February as the economy continues to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. However, last month, as with every month for the past year and a half, the improving overall jobs number was stymied by public sector job losses, with 6,000 workers laid off from the Postal Service.
In 2011, an average of 22,000 public sector workers lost their jobs every month. In fact, if government jobs had even held steady since President Obama took office, over half a million more Americans would be going to work this morning.
The problem is clear in the following chart showing the recovery of private sector jobs (blue line) versus the hemorrhage of public sector jobs (red line):
Republican presidential candidates are as cognizant as anyone about the massive number of government employees being laid off by federal, state, and local governments. Their solution? More budget cuts and more public sector layoffs.
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney told a New Hampshire crowd last year that, as president, he’d like to fire even more government workers. “We just have too many” public sector employees, Romney said, “and they’re paid too much.” Rick Santorum’s plan to cut $5 trillion in federal spending would undoubtedly lead to significantly higher government job losses.
It’s clear that even as the economic recovery continues, it will fall short of its full potential so long as governments continue to shed thousands of jobs. President Obama has proposed to address this problem by creating public sector jobs to repair our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The Republican presidential candidates have proposed to address this problem by exacerbating it.