The Private Sector is Not “Doing Fine”

Brian Koenig | Jul 2, 2012, 6 a.m.

President Obama’s recent remark that “the private sector is doing fine” has become a magnet for criticism. Opponents have, and rightfully so, exploited the President’s “out-of-touch” view toward the U.S. economy, asserting that his big government approach to 8 percent unemployment centers only on the public-sector.

“The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone,” Obama said during a White House news conference in June. “The private sector is doing fine.”

The President went on to contend that the “weaknesses in our economy” are due to a tumultuous decline in federal spending, which has been funding much of the job growth in state and local governments. So, in effect, if we only boost the federal government’s credit limit even higher, we will see an earnest decline in unemployment. Because the President’s $787-billion economic stimulus program has worked such wonders?

Simply put, the private sector is not doing fine. Of course, compared to the business world, federal employment is also not doing fine. It’s doing superb, as the number of federal jobs has spiked 225,000 above its January 2008 numbers. A quick peek at payroll data reveals it all.

Since Obama first took office, private-sector jobs are still in the red, down a whopping 4.6 million, or 4 percent. Meanwhile, public-sector jobs are down only 1.8 percent. And as noted, federal employment is up 224,000 jobs, a sizable 11.4 percent increase since January 2008.

“The recession was boom time for federal employment, especially after Obama took office,” Investors.com noted. “Federal jobs kept rising (excluding a temporary Census surge in early 2010) until March 2011 — more than three years after overall payrolls peaked.”

As for Obama’s bombastic claim that he’s created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, well, that’s true. But his overall indication is misleading. He omits the fact that “his” private-sector job growth lags far behind growth periods from past recession-time recoveries. John Lott, writing for FoxNews.com, affirmed, “The total actual number of private-sector jobs has grown by 2.8 percent during the ‘recovery’ — the average for recoveries since 1970 is 8 percent, and 11 percent after severe recessions.”

But that’s not the end of the story. Such modest growth appears even more ghastly when compared to the number of jobs that vanished in the first place. After 36 months into the “recovery,” businesses have yet to even make up half the jobs they lost during the recession.

“What about the 4.2 million that were lost between when Obama became president and February 2010?” Lott continued. “The ‘growth’ just replaces what was lost during the first part of his administration. Let alone the 8.8 million private sector jobs that were lost between when the recession started.”

In reality, the recession has been a boon for federal employment; but for the private sector — well, not so much.

Brian Koenig is a blogger and columnist, writing about political issues and other current events. Visit his blog at www.brianekoenig.com. Send comments to brianekoe@gmail.com.

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