The unemployment rate was effectively unchanged at 7.9%, and as is often the case, austerity measures undermined the employment landscape
— while America’s private sector added 166,000 jobs in December, the public sector lost 9,000 jobs. Indeed, over the last three months, the nation’s private sector added 624,000 jobs, while 24,000 government jobs were lost.
It’d be easy for Washington to improve the latter number and lower the unemployment rate, but congressional Republicans won’t allow it.
As I've previously written, check out public sector job numbers under both Bush and Obama. Somehow under W, rising public sector employment was okay with the GOP, but if the Dems want to hang on to those jobs, it’s some kind of Kenyan Marxist commie union thug plot to destroy America:
The GOP wants government to shrink, aka firing government workers. Which of course means firing employed people who bring home paychecks that are used to pay for things, which, in turn, boost the economy.
That would make President Obama look good, and Republicans can't have that.
If all those public sector workers had not lost their jobs, there would be over a million more people employed, which of course would bring the unemployment rate down substantially.
That said, check out this video and transcript, courtesy of Think Progress:
CARLY FIORINA: I think it’s important to remember, when we talk about the economy, that a private sector job and a public sector job are not the same things. They’re not equivalent. I’m not saying public sector jobs aren’t important. But a private sector job pays for itself. A private sector job creates other jobs. A public sector job is paid for by taxpayers. [...]
PAUL KRUGMAN: But when we say public sector jobs, it is not a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.
FIORINA: Oh, it is, actually.
KRUGMAN: When we talk about public sector jobs — when we look at the ones that have been lost in large numbers in this — it’s basically school teachers. Don’t think about bureaucrats. It’s school teachers. What we’ve laid off hundreds of thousands of school teachers.
And when we talk about the cuts in public spending that have happened, they are not, you know, some god awful who knows what. It’s actually public investment. It’s largely fixing potholes and repairing bridges.
So, you know, you have this image of these wasteful bureaucrats doing god knows what. What we’ve seen is an incredible drought of basic infrastructure, and laying off hundreds of thousands of school teachers.
FIORINA: It is a fact that virtually every department in every organization in Washington, D.C. has seen its budget increase for the last 40 years. That money is being paid to hire people. The number of people who are — of course there are some teachers…
KRUGMAN: The vast bulk of public sector employees are at the state and local level. They are largely school teachers plus police officers plus firefighters. And your notion that it’s all these bureaucrats — that’s a myth that’s used…
FIORINA: It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. We don’t have enough private escort job creation.
Krugman 1, Fiorina 0.