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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.