Jobs and the Economic Recovery, by the Numbers

by Mike Carvalho  |  March 14, 2012

The Department of Labor released the monthly employment report on Friday, and the numbers show the an economy that’s continuing to improve, but slowly. Unemployment held steady at 8.3 percent and February marked the third consecutive month with a net gain of more than 200,000 jobs. With more than 1.2 million jobs added in the last six months, this marks the best six-month stretch since 2006.

But while the overall picture is improving, continued public sector job losses are dragging down the recovery. As this chart from ThinkProgress shows, even as private sector hiring has improved, there has been a steady drop in public sector employment:

Hiring chart

(That spike in government employment shows temporary census workers hired in 2010.)

Despite an average of 22,000 public sector jobs lost each month in 2011 thanks to ongoing spending cuts at all levels of government, Republican presidential candidates continue to call for more budget cuts and more layoffs for public employees. As Mitt Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire, “We just have too many” public workers, “and they’re paid too much.”

And Romney’s not alone. As TalkingPointsMemo’s Brian Beutler explains, GOP leaders in the U.S. House and Senate have undertaken “a purposeful and unprecedented strategy of blanket obstruction designed to damage the president.” And these are the results:

Spending chart, Obama vs. Reagan

With our economy held hostage by politicians eager to score political points, we can expect the slow economic recovery to continue, resulting in more hardship for working families.

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