Forum Thread

The "Jobs" President freezes federal hiring

Reply to ThreadDisplaying 10 Posts
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    President Trump has issued a broad executive order instating a civilian hiring freeze for the federal government workforce. nytimes.com/2017/01/23/us/politics/fede...

    Meanwhile, federal government hiring growth was stone cold dead during Obama's presidency.

    And with the ongoing austerity at all levels of government, total government employment (federal, state, and local) actually fell during the Obama years.

    If we want to get to full employment with declining government employment, it means the private sector has to hire that many more people.

    Very hard to get to full employment using private sector solutions alone (or jobs "created" by "free market" activity and entrepreneurs). And it means a bigger private sector for government to regulate and service with less people to do so.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Carlitos -- Thanks for sharing. A few observations.

    1. The number scales are kind of tiny, but I do note that the visual trends are amplified because the scales on the left do not start at zero. Rather they represent a cut of the upper part of the graphs.

    2. I assume the numbers include the military. As we know, President Obama drew down troop levels after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were downsized. That troop withdrawal is reflected in part of the apparent decline.

    Total active military on the government payroll is about 1.4 million. That compares with 3.5 million in 1968 at the peak of the Vietnam War. It steadily declined for 30 years and has hovered around the 1.4 million mark for the last 20 years except for a small peak for the two wars above. Have drones replaced many of the ground troops?

    3. Military expenditures have likewise gone down during the Obama's tenure in office, but are still high by historical standards if measured in constant 2009 dollars.

    4. One of the reasons federal government employment has been relatively flat while overall budgets have increased is the shift to private contractors in all areas of government, and not just the military. An expensive war toy like the F-35 makes a hole in any budget but doesn't employ as many government people.

    5. Perhaps the biggest reason for relatively flat employment numbers, as you well know, is sequestration imposed by Congress and the Budget Control Act of 2011. That act made arbitrary cuts in all areas and had a disproportionate affect on certain functions of the government.

    6. Technology likewise has affected government jobs much like it as affected private sector jobs. So government functions can indeed be maintained with fewer employees as routine and non-essential tasks are eliminated.

    7. President Obama has consistently emphasized private sector job growth in the monthly jobs reports. Although the growth has been slower, in part due to Republican obstructionism of Obama's job initiatives, we cannot ignore the fact that we have had 75 straight months of public sector job growth. I will concede that much of that growth is natural as a result of pulling out of the Great Recession where 8.4 million jobs were lost in just two years (2008-2009).

    8. Unemployment stands at 4.7 percent as Obama leaves office, but in some demographics is higher (about 8 percent) while there are skill shortages in other demographics. I think we are approaching a practical full employment in some sectors so monetary policies alone may be less effective. What we need is fiscal policies (job programs and education) in those sectors of the economy that are underperforming.

    9. Pay attention to the baby boomer bubble. My generation is now retiring in a big way. It will have many effects, good and bad, in the years ahead -- not only in the USA, but especially in Europe and Japan. The baby boomer work force is graying and will increasingly becoming a burden on society as opposed to helping drive the economy in the 1980s and 1990s.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Schmidt Wrote:

    Carlitos -- Thanks for sharing. A few observations.

    1. The number scales are kind of tiny, but I do note that the visual trends are amplified because the scales on the left do not start at zero. Rather they represent a cut of the upper part of the graphs.

    It's been relatively flat since Clinton was president. I can't get other Fred graphs to paste for some reason.

    2. I assume the numbers include the military. As we know, President Obama drew down troop levels after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were downsized. That troop withdrawal is reflected in part of the apparent decline.

    Total active military on the government payroll is about 1.4 million. That compares with 3.5 million in 1968 at the peak of the Vietnam War. It steadily declined for 30 years and has hovered around the 1.4 million mark for the last 20 years except for a small peak for the two wars above. Have drones replaced many of the ground troops?

    Both graphs do not include military.

    3. Military expenditures have likewise gone down during the Obama's tenure in office, but are still high by historical standards if measured in constant 2009 dollars.

    The Republic is now perpetually at war.

    4. One of the reasons federal government employment has been relatively flat while overall budgets have increased is the shift to private contractors in all areas of government, and not just the military. An expensive war toy like the F-35 makes a hole in any budget but doesn't employ as many government people.

    What you are saying makes clear sense, but I don't know how the private contractors are counted. These are BLS statistics the St. Louis Fed has been nice enough to put into a graph.

    5. Perhaps the biggest reason for relatively flat employment numbers, as you well know, is sequestration imposed by Congress and the Budget Control Act of 2011. That act made arbitrary cuts in all areas and had a disproportionate affect on certain functions of the government.

    Yes, Obama should have stood tall and told the Deficit Terrorist Republicans to go f' themselves; instead he cooperated and proposed an automatic plan that swung over the economy like the Sword of Damocles, which Republicans were all too eager to see stab the Obama recovery.

    6. Technology likewise has affected government jobs much like it as affected private sector jobs. So government functions can indeed be maintained with fewer employees as routine and non-essential tasks are eliminated.

    No argument here. Just means more available labor is free for other things to do.

    7. President Obama has consistently emphasized private sector job growth in the monthly jobs reports. Although the growth has been slower, in part due to Republican obstructionism of Obama's job initiatives, we cannot ignore the fact that we have had 75 straight months of public sector job growth. I will concede that much of that growth is natural as a result of pulling out of the Great Recession where 8.4 million jobs were lost in just two years (2008-2009).

    "public sector" job growth? I think that should be just job growth.

    Obama 'restarted' the US economy, I will give him credit for that. But he went Deficit Terrorist on us in 2010-11 and spent the rest of his presidency dealing with that miscalculation, i.e. sequestration.

    8. Unemployment stands at 4.7 percent as Obama leaves office, but in some demographics is higher (about 8 percent) while there are skill shortages in other demographics. I think we are approaching a practical full employment in some sectors so monetary policies alone may be less effective. What we need is fiscal policies (job programs and education) in those sectors of the economy that are underperforming.

    There are always or should be shortages of particular in-demand fields and lines of work. We've had a shortage of physicians in numerous specialties since before the recession, for example.

    So there's always going to be highly specialized labor that is in shortage and fully employed, unless the economy completely collapses and anarchy reigns. Monetary policy or interest rates have nothing to do with it

    To deal with the physician shortage, we simply need to graduate and train more doctors in the specialties with shortages. That means more government spending targeted for those purposes.

    9. Pay attention to the baby boomer bubble. My generation is now retiring in a big way. It will have many effects, good and bad, in the years ahead -- not only in the USA, but especially in Europe and Japan. The baby boomer work force is graying and will increasingly becoming a burden on society as opposed to helping drive the economy in the 1980s and 1990s.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Carlitos -- Here is a set of employment graphs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are 20 charts in all, and it does take some time to browse and think about them. One observation on my part is that the sequestration from the Budget Control Act of 2011 didn't seem to make much of a difference in the trend lines.

    Charting the labor market: Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS)

    In fact, I'm not so sure that fiscal and monetary policies have had as much of an effect as some politicians would like you to believe. I don't think the trend lines will change much in the Trump presidency. In fact, with skilled labor shortages in more and more disciplines, economic growth could be slowed. Infrastructure projects will have obstacles for fast progress just because there will be critical shortages in skilled labor. See the MSN Money article that I linked to in the Trump wall thread.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    I did not wanted to start an new thread, but think this subject belongs under "freezing" The EPA department is now under full "censorship" certain scientists are afraid that all the documentation and research of global warming etc. will be destroyed. I'm shocked at this; indeed we are moving back to the 1800's thanks to the stupid conservative minds.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Schmidt said:

    "increasingly becoming a burden on society as opposed to helping drive the economy in the 1980s and 1990s"

    Schmidt, It is actions coming from the perspective that retired workers are a burden that crowned Trump. Although he is disingenuous about it he recognized and appealed to the deserted working class. Y

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Chet -- The baby boomer bubble is reality. My generation of baby boomers helped drive the economy when we were in our prime working years. That is a fact. Now as we are retiring, the ratio of worker to retiree will add a burden to those folks working. The ratio was about 8 workers to retiree in the 1950s. It is 2.9 workers to retiree today. In another 10-15 years it will be about 2 to 1.

    That is the only point I was making. Don't read into it any more than that.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Schmidt Wrote: Chet -- The baby boomer bubble is reality. My generation of baby boomers helped drive the economy when we were in our prime working years. That is a fact. Now as we are retiring, the ratio of worker to retiree will add a burden to those folks working. The ratio was about 8 workers to retiree in the 1950s. It is 2.9 workers to retiree today. In another 10-15 years it will be about 2 to 1.

    That is the only point I was making. Don't read into it any more than that.

    This worries me more than pretty much anything else when it comes to the overall economy.

    Figuring out a way to give the baby boomers everything they were promised without bankrupting the country is going to be a monumental task. We can slash the military budget to zero and it would only be a drop in the bucket.

    As you pointed out - we will soon be having a ratio of two workers paying taxes to one retiree receiving benefits. Add in the fact that the Republican Party wants to slash taxes even more while also refusing to raise the taxable income for Social Security and we are in for a world of trouble soon.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    With respect to the Social Security Trust Fund, what many people do not realize is that even though we have a trust fund, as we draw the fund down in the next 15-20 years to help pay benefits to people like me, it means redeeming the special issue bonds in the fund.

    Where does the money come from to redeem those special issue bonds? From the Treasury general fund.

    Where does the Treasury General Fund get their money? From the taxpayer...or they borrow again.

    That's a point of worry as the worker to retiree ratio continues to decline.

    How can we alleviate that fact? Increase immigration of young people.

    This has deviated off topic a bit from the hiring freeze and discussion of full employment. Full employment in the future needs to consider the availability of productive skilled workers.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Late here.

    It's not an operational financing issue for Social Security if the retiree to worker ratio further inclines.

    Might be a political problem, might be an inflation problem, but its not a financial problem per se.

    Congress can always disperse funds to the Trust Funds. The way the U.S. government debt markets work in the real world are as monetary policy and financial stability tools of the government, and not as a tool to instill market discipline on government spending.