To hear some people tell it, you’d think the American government had expanded radically in recent years–so much so that a vast percentage of the population now works for the government.
As the charts below show, about 7% of Americans now work for the government. (All government–federal, state, and local).
That’s about the same percentage of Americans who were working for the government 35 years ago, in the late 1970s.
(The big explosion in government employment actually came in the 1960s and 1970s, when government employees as a per cent of the population jumped from about 4% to 7%).
In fact, the percentage of Americans who work for the government has shrunk sharply in recent years–so much so that a smaller percentage of Americans now work for the government than at any time since 1987.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a government debt-and-deficit problem to fix–we do. (You can check out other truths about the size of our government here.)
But the problem is not that a lot of Americans suddenly work for the government. U.S. government employment has remained steady as a per cent of the population for decades.
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