While the press cheers on every sign of private sector job creation, little attention is being paid to public sector job destruction. As the Economic Policy Institute reports, while there has been an increase of some 2.8 million private sector jobs since June 2009, public sector employment (federal, state, and local governments combined) has actually fallen by approximately 600,000. This is a very unusual development as the figure below reveals.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, if the percentage growth of public sector employment in this recovery had followed past recovery trends, we would have an additional 1.2 million public sector jobs and some 500,000 additional private sector jobs. A separate reason for concern about this trend is that lost public sector jobs generally means a decline in the services that we need to sustain our communities. The withering away of our public sector during a period of expansion should worry us all.