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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Government as employer: the good, the bad and the ugly

Federal Government as an employer, In order to look into this issue I looked in the historic data series from the FRED.

The Bad
At the begging of 1966 there were 10.61 million people working for the Federal government, by 2012 this figure had more than double to 21.99 million people. In the 185 quarters, the total number of employees grew in 151 out of 185 quarters in my sample, an astonishing 82%.... The chart below is worth a thousand words...

We can clearly see the recessions of 1980 and the current one. We can see how little impact the recessions of 1990 and 2000 had in federal government employment. Interestingly there seem to be major increases in employment pre crises just to be followed  by drastic cuts... go figure...
The picture is not complete if we simply

The Good
Looking at raw employment figures is misleading. If we look at the federal government jobs as percentage of the population we get a much less frightening picture...
In 1966 around 5% of the populaiton worked for the federal government. This figure climbs to around 7% in the 80s and remains there until 2009. Since then we may be experiencing a decline.

The Ugly

In 1960 only 30% of women worked. As their participation increased, the inactive population shrank.
By the 90s close to 60% of the population was employed... By 2010 the trend seems to be reversing. Think baby boomers and the massive fiscal deficit... more work to do, fewer people to get it done!

Draw your own conclusions. I am going to rest. I need to work hard tomorrow.

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