During a press conference Friday, President Obama noted accurately that layoffs at the state and local government level have hurt the economy as it slowly recovers from the Great Recession. “The big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction,” he said.
Later in the day, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) responded by saying that the firing of government workers means things are going in “the right direction,” as reported by CBS’ Rebecca Kaplan:
Christie just went after Obama for presser line about state and local hiring not being high enough. “That’s the right direction,” he says.
— Rebecca Kaplan (@Rebecca_CBSNJ) June 8, 2012
The public sector has shed more than 700,000 jobs since President Obama took office, making it the worst three year stretch for public employment since records have been kept. And it’s in Republican states that the bulk of the cutbacks occurred. If the public sector had grown over that period at the same rate that it grew under Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, the unemployment rate would be a full point lower.
Christie is not along amongst the GOP in calling for laying off more public sector workers, despite the detrimental effect that it has on the economy. In fact, GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) responded to the latest jobs report, which was disappointing by all accounts, by claiming that public sector job growth was harming the recovery.