Bad news and (not so) good news on jobs

The good news is that private sector jobs are increasing, no longer declining.  The U.S. economy gained 64,000 private sector jobs in September, and that’s the ninth month in a row of job growth.

But the U.S. economy has lost 8 million jobs since the start of the recession.  According to Paul Krugman, you would need to add 300,000 jobs a month – including the 125,000 needed to keep up with population growth – to get back to 5 percent unemployment in five years.

Also in September, the U.S. lost 159,000 government jobs.  Most of these were Census workers who’d completed their tasks, but there also were 76,000 employees of state and local governments.

Now government doesn’t determine how many private sector jobs there are.  But it does determine how many government jobs there are.  It doesn’t make sense to lay off public workers during a recession.  It’s important to maintain vital public services – schools, libraries, maintenance of roads, water systems and sewerage systems – in good times and bad.

Beyond that, public sector layoffs are an anti-stimulus program.  Laid-off school teachers and firefighters stop buying goods and services, which leads to less business activity and job growth in the private sector.

Click on The jobs deficit for an explanation of how much job growth we need to get back to normal 5 percent unemployment.

Click on Calculated Risk for more charts and facts on unemployment and the economy.

Click on NFB Chartfest for even more charts and facts on unemployment and the economy.

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