• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Forget the Facts. Reid Says Private-Sector Employment Is 'Just Fine'


    Apparently unemployment is not much of a problem in the private sector. At least Senator Harry Reid (D–NV) thinks so.

    Debating the Senate’s proposed $35 billion bailout for state and local governments, Reid argued, “It’s very clear that private sector jobs have been doing just fine. It’s the public sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about.”

    Senator Reid is not just mistaken; he has his facts exactly backwards. If the recession has barely touched one sector of the economy, it is government. Since the recession began in December 2007 the private sector shed 6.3 million net jobs, while government payrolls are down by just 392,000.

    That amounts to a 5.4 percent drop in private sector employment, while government employment has slipped only one-third as much (1.8 percent). Education-related government jobs have fallen even less, down 1.4 percent. [Continued below chart]

    It is true that government employment decreased slightly over the past year. Over the same period, private-sector employment has grown modestly. That happened because the stimulus expired and states had to balance their budgets. The stimulus did little to boost the economy, but it did keep government payrolls from shrinking. That does not mean we should do it again.

    Relatively few government employees are unemployed. Only 4.7 percent of government employees cannot find jobs—half the national unemployment rate. Government employees have the lowest jobless rate of any industry.

    Washington, D.C., beat out Silicon Valley to claim the highest income of any metropolitan region in the country. The median household in Washington makes $84,500 a year, compared to the national average of $50,000. The federal government’s headquarters has the strongest economy in the country. Private-sector workers are hardly doing “just fine” compared to government employees.


    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to Forget the Facts. Reid Says Private-Sector Employment Is 'Just Fine'

    1. Bobbie says:

      the less government's unconstitutionality the more freedom of the people, Mr. Harry! The less public sector jobs is quite an achievement that you can respect Americans have the decency not to be crowded out by your overreach! get rid of your excessive regulations and get out of the private sector. You're not needed or wanted, ignorant one of a government bunch!

      • Robert A Hirschmann says:

        I agree whole heartedly. Get the government the hell out of infringing in the private sector and watch the companies start hiring again. Companies can hardly stay in business with all the government red tape tacked on their payroll.

      • Al Connelly says:

        This administration is well versed in the art of hiding from the truth. Unfortunately the GOP is too busy killing the reputation of any candidate with the current debates. If anyone is going to rise to the top as a potential front runner with any chance of defeating Obama in 2012 there needs to be change in current discussions. Only Herman Caine has been gutsy enough to espouse having a plan and he is being attacked by the other candidates whose only agenda is to get nominated by undermining the reputations of their opponents.

        The group who will ultimately elect the next president are not being educated regarding the true problems with our current government and indeed are being driven away from an alternative to Obama by candidates pushing for killing Social Security and Medicare and taking hard lines on freedom choice for Abortions while pushing to further decimated public schools with voucher programs and other movements to take funding away from public institutions. If we end up with four more years of lies the problem lies with the GOP National Committee and the current candidates for president. Al

      • madog2 says:

        And while ou are getting get out get out of Washington and maybe have that stroke you so richly deserve.

    2. steve h says:

      Interesting, notice how the private sector jobs numbers shifted dramatically after the passage of what you call the 'failed stimulus'. Passed in early 2009, look at how the drastic downfall stopped, and then started turning upwards. Yet Heritage and conservatives will still argue the stimulus did nothing. If only they would look at their own charts.

      Also, today, yet another dictator toppled under the Obama adminsitraion – without sending out troops in on the ground. Surely, you can write something kind about that, no?

      • lights on says:

        the numbers didn't dramatically shift because of the bailout, Steve! the money did nothing but help this administrations cronies. the people are dealing with the hardships of the government and doing as much as they can. give credit to Americans. not the government and their insistence by actions to collapse us!

    3. What stats is he looking at … Doesn't he see that the big government is stifling progress in the private sector. We are in a trap of deficit spending that influences everything. Harry Reid needs to read the book by Ezra Taft Benson called THE RED CARPET (1962) and apply the lesson learned from studying it. Let's save America by reducing the size of government.

    4. Mr. Harry, If I were bleeding to death, would you call 911, help stop the bleeding, or throw me a band-aid? Right now I can see ONLY Ban-aids while the country is bleeding to death for continued FAILED liberal policies. You can not stop the bleeding by causing MORE BLEEDING! Can YOU not GET IT?

    5. Jeanne Stotler says:

      What is this man smoking?? We live in suburbs of D.C., those in gov't. jobs seem to be doing well, I do not know one person who lost a job they had in a Gov't. agency, YET I know many who have been laid off or those who work for themselves in house painting, contractors, etc that do not have work or that are barely squeeking by. Also the young that have recently finished HS or Coll, are not able to get jobs. Is this just more proof tha Prince Harry is getting senile?

    6. MJF in CT says:

      Senator Reid is correct, the problem WAS rooted in the last administration and that was the Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi's administration. While those two starred in the "show", the Country went into its downward spiral. This was mostly caused by the outlandish spending and uncontrollable growth of the Federal Government.

    7. bsfurg says:

      How come we need so many ppl running our government when Obama know how to do everything.. and how many are crooks and if we dont have any money why do we need so many in DC.. or are they all so stupid it takes 2 ppl to run a one man job? If I was haryy I would keep my big mouth shut instead of bragging how stupid our government really is..

    8. LarryH says:

      This man's disconnect with both the American people and the facts is astonishing. Every time one of the people opens his or her mouth and says things like this, the more it is imperative to send them home, or to the looney bin, whichever is most appropriate.

    9. bsfurg says:

      OH oh I spoke the truth so they wont let my comments on here…. to bad it was the t ruth.. and why do our want to live like a communist…. i cant believe they want to lose there freedom..

    10. VC Geezer says:

      It never ceases to amaze me how often Reid can continue to make these fantastic statements and is allowed to get away with it.

    11. Jerry L Williams says:

      Get the Government off our backs. Wages and benefits way out of line with rest of country! Too many new employees at the Government level, cut now! Private sector has been cuting for along time, because of down turn in Economy!
      Obama can not grow economy by growing government. It only drains more from the public sector. Get a clue get your head out of the hole you have it in!

    12. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Why is this news. Does anyone not yet realize just who and what Reid is? He has always been not only one of Obama most ardent lackeys, he is one of, if not the most clear obstructionist ever to serve in Congress. Add to this, he was reelected through pure voter fraud and manipulation of voter by union operatives, we have a clear understanding exact who and what Reid is.

      • Robert A Hirschmann says:

        In the last Senate election I voted against Reid. I’m sorry to say that my fellow Nevadans decided to re-elect him. I’m embarrassed by having this Obama clone as my senator. I apologize for all the stupid Nevadans who voted for him.

    13. Charles says:

      This is the one that Nevada chose to represent them in the U.S. Senate? What planet is he from? If private sector jobs have "been doing just fine" then why is the unemployment rate for the private sector so high? Mr. Reid can say what he wants about "the previous administration" but him along with Obama has made the problem even worse with their policies.

    14. Basia says:

      What is with this administration and democratic leadership? Harry Reid is either delusional or he has dementia already. The private sector is just fine Harry?! Nancy Pelosi looks and speaks as thought she's ON "something" and Biden is out yelling at public appearances wagging his angry finger like his boss O'Finger Wagger In Chief. Harry, drive through any town and see how many private sector storefronts are empty and tattered. The left has gone mad! We have got to clean house in 2012 as the D.C. inmates are running the aslylum.

    15. Sounds like old Harry took a few to many punches to the head if he thinks the private sector is doing fine. This Obama jobs bill is another rat hole and payoff to the Public Sector Unions, nothing more.

    16. brad kocher says:

      Please send this to the major networks since they are totally ignoring Reid's statements.

    17. Neil Jones says:

      The unions are out of control and need to be controled, they have ran up the price of everything by forcing more pay to themselves. Private sectors are hurt by this and that in turn hurts everyone. Like Mr. McCullough above said Harry Reid is punch drunk and really needs to retire. That's another thing why do these Senate and Gongress get full pay retirment all their lives no matter how long they serve. We could shave billions off the top just by stopping that stupidity.

    18. Wes says:

      If you listen real close to Obama's speeches you will notice that when he talks about creating new jobs
      he only mentions police, firemen and teachers. All UNION jobs. He can't get past his love affair with
      the unions. It proves he doesn't care about anyone else.

    19. Jeanne Stotler says:

      If he wasn't trying so hard to get re-elected BHO would wouldn't give a hoot about Union jobs. He's been courting them since his last election in 2008. Unions are big money to DNC coffers, yet they go around pretending to be on fact finding mission or just reassuring the people etc. The laws say that if a sitting pres. is running for re-election all expense MUST be paid by the supporting party, BHO is using AF1 and his new Canadian built bus under false pretenses.

    20. Fred A says:

      If I learned anything in 40 years of working across the table from our elected officials it is that one cannot believe anything they say. If it is not politically expedient ($$$) they will not take any action. Don't expect anything to change until people are gathered by the tens of thousands in continuing protest and also show up at the polls and vote!

    21. @villagepope says:

      Its all a bunch of BS. Our current economic problems can be traced directly to our own greed.

      • Bobbie says:

        sorry to disagree but greed is not a crime. government overreach is! persons shouldn't be judged by assumption according to their wealth. Government is judged as they take control beyond ours, using our money! and this government has been nothing but unfair to the good people they ignore to serve.

    22. Carol M Kite says:

      I was my understanding that Obama incresed the size of government jobs by hundreds, certainly the Big Union Bosses are doing everything they can, incidentally giving the 'rank & file' a bad name in their strong-arm process.
      Harry Reid's demeanor sounds like he's half-asleep, currently asleep at the wheel with no sense of realism affecting his opinions. He needs to go and take Obama with him, who should not be under union's big thumb!

    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.