America passes a milestone!

We now have more poeple employed in government than manufacturing and construction.

Employment in government and manufacturing

—– Graph from Contrary Investor, 9 December 2008 — subscription only.

It’s a milestone.  But to what end does this road lead us?

See these reports for For other perspectives

(1)  Factors Underlying the Decline in Manufacturing Employment Since 2000“, Congressional Budget Office, 23 December 2008 (8 pages)

(2)  See Can you see the signs of spring in the coming of winter? A note about the recession (10 September 2008).   Esp note graph #2, “US exports of goods and services as a % of GDP.”  It is often said that “the US no longer makes things.”   Not so, as exports have grown as a fraction of the US economy for 30 years.   That is important and good news.  America must earn its way in the world, and by some means other than as a largely unwanted global policeman.


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To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp interest these days:

Implications for the future, about structural changes to America from this crisis

  1. Treasury Secretary Paulson leads us across the Rubicon, 9 September 2008
  2. Say good-bye to the old America. Welcome to our new socialist paradise!, 17 September 2008
  3. Another voice warning about the nationalization of AIG, 18 September 2008
  4. Another step away from our Constitutional system, with applause, 19 September 2008
  5. America appoints a Magister Populi to deal with the financial crisis, 21 September 2008
  6. Legal experts discuss if the Paulson Plan is legal, 21 September 2008
  7. German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück explains how the world is changing, 30 September 2008
  8. America has changed. Why do so many foreigners see this, but so few Americans?, 1 October 2008
  9. America is changing. Read some chillling words from a liberal economist, 2 October 2008

126 thoughts on “America passes a milestone!”

  1. Everybody go John Galt along with me for the next few years. Might as well get this collapse over with.

  2. What wonderful news! As Milton Friedman said, “If the government was in charge of the sahara desert, there would be a shortage of sand in two years.” Can’t wait for the hyper inflation, shortages, lines, etc. Viva la revolution!

  3. Pingback: Government bigger employer than manufacturing industry « Le Carrefour de la Sagesse

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  5. This is not ideal, but also not quite the disaster we infer. The decline occurs largely because manufacturing productivity is continuously increasing, thus employment required for steadily increased output declines, at the same time as government inefficiency continues apace. We still out-manufacture the world, we are just growing government unnecessarily, though increased military exacerbates the issue.

    What we really need is to control government employment, which is not easy when Obama is holding hands with Andy Stein of SEIU.

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  7. nearlynormalized

    Why not keep the manufacturing in the USA? What is the game of greed going to do for us? Get real and make it happen here and look forward to the future of productivity not greed.

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  10. You know I’m not too sure whether that’s a good thing, or a bad thing. There are a lot of people with great benefits from the government though, so more power to them.

    Check out my New Blog, for those of you interested. Jordan Clark’s blog: The River Jordan.

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  12. Note the only significant reduction in the size of government, in this recent history, occurred during the Reagan presidency, 1980-1988.

    If anyone wonders just how much the currency of Conservatism has been devalued, one need look no further.

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  14. electrophoresis

    It proves hilarious to watch conservatives swell with indignation, like Oscar Meyer wieners on a grill, at this news…when the hard cold reality remains that essentially all of that “government employment” is military. Yet how do conservatives react when asked their opinion on reducing the bloated wasteful U.S. military-industrial complex?

    Why, they explode with fury.

    You can’t have it both ways, conservatives. Either you love a giant military-industrial complex and must accept that America will turn into GOSPLAN as a result…or you must bite the bullet and accept a drastically smaller U.S. military as the price to be paid for reducing government intrusion into private affairs.

  15. Interesting graph. I wonder how many are Unionized Government workers? Nothing like a burgeoning fat government with a sloven like Union to help them along.

  16. americanconservativenetwork

    Very interesting data.

    And to all the posters with the anti-conservative comments. Only time will tell exactly how Obama’s administration will do…so you may not want to count your chicks before they are hatched. You, just like the media, might be putting your foot in your mouth.

  17. electrophoresis

    The claim that the federal government shrank, or that government employment shrank, under Ronald Reagan’s watch is yet another self-deluded fantasy. The actual facts show that both government spending (immensely increased because of Reagan’s budget-busting military profligacy) and government employment (up by 61,000) exploded under Ronald Reagan.

    See “Ronald Reagan- The Conservative God: Myth over Reality“, Randy Allgaier, posted at The Alligator Report, 10 February 2008.

    The only possible way to avoid acknowledging that reality of hugely expanded government under Reagan is to try to claim that the U.S. military isn’t part of the United States government.

    Hey…good luck with that one, folks.

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  20. Pingback: America Passes a Milestone « Carousel

  21. Every day, we need fewer and fewer people, to make the things we need. Of course they go to government! Society completly ignores the problem! What are we to do with all these people? We need another kind of “path” for society, for people who cannot find work.
    Fabius Maximus replies: For over a century every generation has worried about jobs for the next generation. When 90% of workers were on farms, mechanization of agriculture means social collapse. When factories dominated the economy, automation meant the collapse of society. We have somehow evolved our way past those challenges. I have faith we will work through this, although I do not see the way.

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  24. Well, yes. At the moment, the government has better job security than manufacturing and construction. People in automobile and airplane manufacturing, especially. Those people are losing their jobs while government employees are keeping theirs, and getting new ones as people lose private industry jobs and move to government

  25. same thing happens in Honduras…dont have that much industry though, but still govt is the biggest employer, low salaries for most but better than average benefits than in private enterprise.

  26. You do realize everyone in the military is a “government worker”… Sheesh.

    And you’ve neglected to include people employed in service industries and other white collar jobs in your comparison. Was that a deliberate attempt at fuzzy math?

  27. This is concerning, but seems incomplete. We can now manufacture more with fewer people, so our growth in that area comes in the form of technological productivity gains, not increased labor inputs. Other industries, such as high tech and service, are what are driving the growth in the number of jobs in this country. What would really be interesting is to see the graph as a percentage of total U.S. jobs. Government’s share of the total workforce is what we should really care about.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I agree, and believe most people understood that point. The comparison with constuction and manufacturing workers gives a benchmark with our past.

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  29. You will get nowhere with Obama fanatics. They believe Obama can fly, can wlak on water, then swim underwater indefinitely. People in government jobs, are on the internet all day or picking up garbage. They produce nothing!! People cannot think on their own with Omama as president. He wants to close a prison that houses some of the most dangerous people in the world. Maybe Obama should build a new prison on the South Side of Chicago for these murderers. Maybe he can have his friend Bill Ayers teach them all how to be more effective in infiltrating our country. Rev. Wright can teach them how to hate the white man even more. Tony Rezko can sell them property for pennies on the dollar. Obama is a goof.

  30. Re #57, of course, electrophoresis, you are correct that spending rose under Reagan. But he had a Democratic Congress to contend with, and settled for increased military spending and tax cuts. He never got, for example, the welfare reform that was enacted by Clinton, forced by the Republican Congress a decade later, or other spending reforms; although it is crystal clear from his speeches that was his intent.

    Unfortunately, Bush (a big-government establishment guy on domestic bread-and-butter issues – hmm, I guess on ALL issues) and the undisciplined Republican Congress of 2000-2006 hugely expanded spending. One wonders what Reagan could have done with the same Congress.

    When I look at how many are riding the wagon vs. pulling it, I wonder how much more “stimulus” our economy can take.

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