• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Federal Workforce Continues to Grow Under Obama Budget

    Since the beginning of the last recession (December 2007) the private sector workforce has shrunk by 6.6% while shedding more than 7.5 million jobs. Over that same time period, the federal government workforce (excluding Census and Postal workers) has grown by 11.7% while adding 230,000 jobs.

    This trend has continued throughout the Obama Administration. Since President Barack Obama was sworn into office, the private sector workforce has shrunk by 2.6% while shedding 2.9 million jobs while the federal workforce (excluding Census and Postal workers) has grown by 7% while adding more than 144,000 jobs.

    Now, President Obama’s FY 2012 budget proposes adding even more people to the federal payroll. Specifically, the President wants to create an additional 15,000 federal government jobs including 4,182 additional Internal Revenue Service employees 1,054 of which will be needed to implement Obamacare alone.

    The problem with all these additional government jobs is that government spending does not create the economic growth needed to sustain private sector job growth. Heritage analysts James Sherk and Rea Hederman explain:

    The resources the government spends do not materialize out of thin air—they are taken from the private sector. Research shows that government spending crowds out private investment. Each $1 increase in government spending reduces private-sector investment by between $0.46 and $0.97 after two years and $0.74 and $0.95 over five years. Government spending substitutes for private-sector investment; it does not supplement it. Increased government spending further reduces private-sector investment, making the problem of low job creation worse.

    Moreover, government spending misdirects economic resources. Political priorities, not economic return, drive government spending. The desires of influential Members of Congress and political fads determine where government appropriations are allocated. This often differs greatly from the use that creates the most wealth and jobs.

    This is one of the main reasons why countries in which the government spends heavily to create jobs—such as France and Germany—do not enjoy higher employment rates. In fact, countries with greater government spending and larger public-sector payrolls have higher unemployment.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    30 Responses to Federal Workforce Continues to Grow Under Obama Budget

    1. Daron, Florida says:

      Obama's job growth plan in action

    2. Bobbie says:

      For what purpose does the President continue to reveal his weakness by hiring more government feds to hide behind? What specifically is the necessity to the people? How is it for, of and by the people? For what productive reason?

      I heard there were more being hired in IRS. (more of what, I don't know?) Is this so IRS audits will be accountable to follow the quota system? I have a sneaky suspicion, only those Obama targets will be audited.

    3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Federal Workforce Continues to Grow Under Obama Budget | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    4. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      On average, how many private sector employees must be taxed to pay the salary of one government employee? As more people leave the private sector for government jobs, we private employees are going to have to cough up more to pay for them. This is not sustainable.

    5. Real American says:

      It's part of their big money laundering scheme of taking taxpayer dollars, filtering it through the unions and getting it back as campaign cash and more power. It's time to end the practice. Time to defund the Left. If they want more govt, they can spend their own money trying to make a cogent argument (which they typically can't).

    6. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      What happened to the pledge to go through each agency, "LINE BY LINE" and weed out all the unneccessary cost??? The private sector is shrinking, BHO does nothing to encourage businesses to stay in USA, he doesn't protect the workers here, he, instead brings in from other countries(some our enemies) and allows illegal's to cross the border at will. He is supporting Unions that are exploiting the members they are suppose to represent, and now wants to take away the secret ballot so these "officers" can strong arm the members into voting the way they say. This is not the Constitution I learned in school and it's not "Gov't. of the People,for the people and by the people" I hope we are not to late to turn this all around.

    7. Margy-N.M. says:

      Most coorporations present a financial report at an annual meeting of shareholders.Since taxpaying citizens are shareholders in government, responsible for its costs and indebedness, every bureau, department, agency

      should be required to present an annual financial report before any additional funding is approved.

    8. Margy -Las Cruces, N says:

      Most corporations present a financial report at an annual meeting of shareholders. Since taxpaying citizens are government shareholders, responsible for financing costs and indebtedness, every department, bureau, agency should be required to present an annual financial report before any additional funding is approved.

    9. Pingback: Federal Government’s Weekly Fiscal Train Wreck – 2-23-11 - The Liberty Journal

    10. Douglas Gould, Color says:

      The article above says 4,182 new IRS agents, but I have heard 16,500 just to coerce compliance with obamacare. Meanwhile, drug dealers are not coerced to pay taxes on the millions the "earn" selling drugs to kids. I have not heard one speech from obama slamming drug use – I guess he needs their votes.

    11. CHIP BLAIR ASHLAND P says:

      I retired from a manufacturing plant after having worked there for thirty years. We did not have a union. Our work clothes were provided. Our safety shoes were provided. Our safety eyewer was provided. Our wages were the highest in our county. Our benefit package was the best in our county. We contributed NOTHING to our pensions. We paid 13% toward our health care. My retirement health care is EXCELLENT. We were able to speak with our bosses about aditional benefits and were able to approach them and negotiate openly with them. In those thirty years we resisted and turned away union intervention four times. We were happy and every penny we took home in our paychecks was ours. We didn't have to give it to a union.

    12. Mike vermont says:

      I want to say the lack of term limits is the beginning of the tax payers servitude. As the fox "our elecred officials" watch the hen house " the tax payers" learn quickly, and become efficient opportunist they have realizes self preservation through the tax code, administrative rule, minipulation of our judiciary and control of govermnent by unions can disable enough tax payers that there is no choice but to vote for him. Our chosen elected officials, some in office for 40 plus years believe " and act like kings" we can not do without them and with perhaps 40 percent effectively financially disabled and the middle class shrinking into this financially disabled category there is an even larger class who survive in this realm now. Federal state and municipal employes and the working and non working poor have been corralled and the private sector is clearly the feed bag to self preservation of our elected selfpreservationst each having become little kings of their states.The tax payer has woken up and I used to believe rearm limits was the answer let's not go to sleep again .

      Mike in Vermont

    13. Valricoslash, Valric says:

      Don Harper is right. I often thought the same thing. How many of us in the private sector does it take to support one federal, state, or local government worker? The answer: a lot. So, if the private sector is shrinking and the public sector is growing, it is obvious that those of us left in the private sector will have a reduced standard of living as we are taxed more to pay for the ever increasing standard of living of overpaid, and under utilized government workers. I beliver the federal workforce could be cut by at least 25 percent across the board and we would not see a noticble difference in services. In fact, it might make the feds more efficient. As far as teachers go, don't look at their salaries, but rather look at their real hourly wage equivalents. Teachers work on the average, 500 hours less per yar than the standard 2080 hour work year. So instead of dividng their salaries by 2080 try using 1550 to get what theya re really earning. What other job in America, besides congress, does one get soooo many days off? And don't give me that BS about how they take all this work home at night. Most salaried empoyes work lots fo overtime for no overtime pay, so lets call that excuse a draw.

    14. Excie Jones Kurz says:

      Our only growth industry is the government. How long can this continue?

    15. @loganyc says:

      Wow, not sure where you found that graph on the BLS website. Can you provide a link?

      Here's an actual link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website where you'll see that, after a temporary buildup of the government workforce for last year's census, it has indeed been shrinking under Obama:

      Maybe you had your source confused with BS.gov?

      • eric says:

        logan, they cite 3 sources for their data, so the graph doesn't have to match and they can freely claim that the graph is a result of their own analysis. which would be fine, if they would tell us exactly how their analysis so dramatically contradicted the BLS…

    16. eric says:

      I think I've figured out the Heritage graph's variance from the BLA numbers: it's because they're excluding postal workers. This is from a Politifact fact-check on Tim Pawlenty, making similar (but larger) claims: "The closest we could come to a 590,000 [government-sector] job gain using a legitimate statistic was a measurement suggested by Rea Hederman Jr., a research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. He suggested looking at the federal workforce minus U.S. Postal Service employees. Postal workers are a different enough category of employee that the BLS does calculate a statistic that excludes them from the federal workforce, and that statistic shows an increase in federal employment since January 2008 of 215,700 employees." http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statement

      So they're fudging the numbers to exclude a category of federal worker that we know very well they would include for any other purpose (since we all know how Heritage feels about the USPS).

    17. Ron Laone says:

      The national damage from the Obama administration is obvious to all who are willing to open their eyes.

    18. Ryan Sanders says:

      This article is just not accurate. I just went to gov labor statistics site and none of this information is even accurate. How pathetic people take these think tanks seriously.

    19. Ryan Sanders says:

      This article also doesn't account for state and local workers. Overall there are fewer government job now than, but that too misses the point.

      There is no evidence that public sector spending crowds out private sector investment especially not when demand is anemic.

      • Bob Weber says:

        This article is a desparate attempt to fool ignorant voters. The best evidence does not support this article.

    20. Doug Laney says:

      Here's a table directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. It shows government employment down 280,000 and private employment up 1,920,000 since Dec 2010. ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.ceseeb3.txt.

    21. D Brian says:

      You can also see in the chart that the sharp rate of private sector employment under Bush was *immediately* slowed when Obama came into office, then ultimately turned upward by 2010. Awesome turnaround! And all while shrinking the size of government overall by 280,000 positions. Well done! Let's keep it going!

    22. chris says:

      i love the conservative quotes such as…" i HEARD they hired 15,000 IRS agents to help businesses comply with OBAmacare"…. YES, i HEARD it too …on foxnews 10,000 times..and its false by ALL accounts.

    23. An AMERICAN says:

      OBAMA is nothing but a LIAR, If his lips are moving he's lying. He gives a great speech, most community organizers do, but he's like a used car salesmen they tell you what you want to hear. What has happened to our society, he pulled the wool over every AMERICAN'S eyes, at least all of those DEMS who voted for him, they all thought he's the greatest thing since apple pie. I'm not eating any of that pie. 4 more years of his failed policies and SOCIALIST ideas will end AMERICA as we know it. Look at all of the CZAR positions that he has created, what are their responsibilities? BIGGER Government since he was elected, more intrushion into our lifes by them wanting to control what we do, eat, buy, and wanting to tell us how to live our lives. Doesn't sound like anything our fore fathers came up with in the CONSTIUTION or BILL of RIGHTS, which are also being erroded by obama and his Socialist style of Government. Wake up AMERICAN'S, regardless of you political affiliations, we as a nation are on the decline because of this DICTATOR, his thinking is IT'S MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY! Remember this folks, A NATION THAT DOESN'T LEARN FROM ITS MISTAKES IS DOOMED!

    24. An American says:

      I can see now that FREE SPEECH doesn't apply to the blog section of this website. I submitted my opinion, in a blog yesterday, of the state of our faltering nation and evidently your proof readers didn't like the content of this blog. I can quantee you that there are hunderds of thousands of AMERICANS who have this same opinion of the path obama is leading us down and that's the path of destruction, the end of AMERICA as we know it, if he is re-elected. I don't want to here you cry baby DEMOCRATS complaining after obama's re-election when we as a nation finally reach that tipping point and go over the edge, but then when that time comes I guess you will blame it on the honorable President Bush, because he is your parties scap-goat. your party is UN-AMERICAN

    25. Dan Conyers says:

      How to get Obama re-elected…
      1. Kill private sector jobs.
      2. Make unemployed comfortable with food stamps, free govt. housing acquired through Fannie/Freddie foreclosures, etc.
      3. Hire more federal workers to watch porn on internet.
      4. Motivate the unemployed and newly hired Federal workers to vote against the Republicans who want to make you find a job and work for a living.

    26. ettucat says:

      Decreases in public sector workers are taking place at the individual state level. The states taxpayers can no longer support the numbers of gov't employees. Under Obama, the Fed workforce is increasing, and rapidly. There seems to be no boundaries for Obama, when spending the taxpayers money. When we become Greece, people will realize the folly of increasing gov't payrolls, pensions, and benefits.

    27. HackSlayer says:

      One legitimate reason to exclude the USPS numbers is that they exist under a non-tax (voluntary, pay for service) revenue stream, versus the rest of the federal government which is funded form general tax (involuntary) "revenue" stream.

      Also, when local government cuts over this period there is a net increase arising from increases to the federal and state government aggregate payrolls.

      Moreover, the overall labor force participation rate has declined throughout the term of this administration and is currently at the lowest level since 2002. http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000 …Then there is the eyeball test — your eyes tell you that the economy remains lousy by all real world measures you can feel. Anti-business, bastardized Keynesian policies discourage expansion in healthy companies, period. The investment economy operates on a risk-reward basis, and the one risk investors hate most is policy risk due to its' capricious nature. The best way for a government to aid post-recesssion recovery is to convince potential expanders that it will not reduce reward for needed risk taking. No structural tax changes, and no regulatory expansions which raise overhead and reduce real returns. This is the least any sane government can do — reduced marginal business tax rates for new expansion and simplification, streamlining and elimination of excessive regulatory compliance costs is the aggressive approach. This crew of booksmart fools with no real world business experience has done the opposite on the regulatory side and has sabre-rattled on higher taxes out of "fairness". A funny kind of fairness that will further dampen employment and hurt people on the cusp who have a right to expect their government not to hurt them. First, no no harm ham-fisted social engineers.

    28. PLT SGT CHE says:

      More government hiring is accomplished by UNELECTED
      government bureaucrats; working for the biased Office of
      Personnel Management (OPM), an entrenched mismanaged
      gov bureaucracy mired in gender, racial and sexual orientation
      politics. We need more than new ELECTED leaders; we need
      a clean sweep of unnecessary local, state and federal bureaucrats
      who exercise authority not granted under OUR U.S. Constitution, but
      who are allowed and encouraged by those we elect to represent WE
      THE PEOPLE, not to allow the unelected to rule over us. Who will become
      the elected leader to correct this bureaucratic hijacking of our liberty, sustainability
      and overall effectiveness as a nation? Who indeed?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.