Where the Jobs Are
don’t let your kids grow up to be bureaucrats:
Last week the Department of Labor reported that employers shed a net 539,000 jobs in the first three months of 2009, bringing the nation’s unemployment rate to 8.9%. The manufacturing sector lost 149,000 jobs, business services lost 122,000 jobs, and construction lost 110,000 jobs. All told, the private sector lost 611,000 jobs. So how was the total job loss only 539,000? Because one sector of the economy has proven impervious to economic realities: the public sector. Government actually added 72,000 jobs so far this year.
The continued growth of the public sector while all other sectors of the economy contract is no accident. Government employee unions were a driving force in making sure large chunks of President Obama’s stimulus package went to states and cities to preserve jobs. In fact, when you talk about the entire labor movement today, you are really talking about government employees. Less than 8% of the private sector workforce belongs to a union. Contrast that with 37% of all government employees carrying union cards and 42% of all local government employees.
Make no mistake, collecting union dues from public-sector employees (whose salaries are paid by taxpayers) is big business. The Service Employees International Union collects nearly $5 million a month from just 223,000 health care workers. And when the SEIU is not blatantly stealing this money, they are turning it into efforts to elect politicians who promise to endlessly grow the public sector. SEIU president Andy Stern recently told the Las Vegas Sun: “We spent a fortune to elect Barack Obama — $60.7 million to be exact — and we’re proud of it.”