Sunday, February 5, 2012

Private Payrolls Versus Govt Payrolls

Over the course of the Great Recession, we naturally dipped a bit in our percentage of all payrolls from private employment. At first, over the course of 2008 and very early 2009, private payrolls were dropping significantly faster than government payrolls. That has since reversed.
The dotted red line indicates the level of the first full month of President Obama's tenure.

As 2009 wore on, the bleeding in private payrolls slowed (from -0.73% in April to -0.29% in May and eventually dwindling to -0.04% in November). The change in private payrolls turned positive in March 2010 and the tally's been growing every since. Meanwhile, except for a spike in May 2010 from Census hiring, govt payrolls fluctuated in the same narrow band from late 2008 until plummeting after the Census work. By January 2012, govt payrolls dropped to a five year low at a level not seen since July 2006.
Private payrolls on the larger scale at left; govt payrolls on the smaller scale at right.

Growing population casts the drop in government payrolls with an even larger impact. By 2010, we reached a 20 year low as far as the number of government workers per capita.

Govt workers per million Americans
Annual change

As Daniel Gross put it, describing the increasing private share of all payrolls, "Socialism? Hardly."

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