On Friday, the US economy hit a significant milestone. The total number of Non-Farm Payrolls has finally surpassed the pre-crisis peak from early 2008.
That’s a depressing milestone though. For one thing, it’s taken way too long to get here. And for another thing, we’re still not caught up, because the population has grown since then, so just being back at that level isn’t enough.
So what’s held the job market back? One huge factor has been government employment.
Bill McBride at Calculated Risk has updated his chart of public sector employment under Obama and the last few Presidents. As you can see, it’s not even close. The public sector (mostly concentrated at the state and local levels) has aggressively shed jobs during the Obama administration. That’s a trend that never happened under recent Presidents.
There’s no getting around how much of a drag this has been.
As for private sector employment growth?
Well, the Obama administration is right in the middle of the pack.