Jul 11, 2011 7:22 PM GMT
Contrary to the right-wing talking point about "Big government" and Obama expanding the government, the reality is that we've lost 500,000 state and federal workers since he took office.
PolitifactWe found that between January 2009 (when Obama took office) and June 2011 (the most recent month available), the combination of federal, state and local government workers. Overall government employment declined by 518,000 workers, or about 2.3 percent of the January 2009 level.
But the closer you look at the data, the more varied the data becomes.
First, let’s look at federal government employment, which accounts for just 13 percent of all government employment. The number of federal workers has increased by 38,000 over the same period -- an increase of 1.4 percent.
And if you separate out the U.S. Postal Service, the growth was even bigger. Non-postal federal employment -- about 10 percent of all government employment -- increased over the same period by 139,000 workers, or 6.7 percent.
The decline in government employment clearly wasn’t driven by job losses at the federal level. It came from state and local government. So we’ll look at the trends for those categories here.
State employment accounts for 23 percent of the government workforce. State government payrolls declined by 113,000 over the same period, or 2.2 percent. Within this category, state education workers -- who account for a little under half of state workers -- actually rose slightly over the period. The hits were taken in the remainder of the state workforce -- a decline of 115,500, or 4.1 percent.
But the biggest declines in the government sector came in local government. Local government -- which accounts for 64 percent of all government employment -- fell by 443,000 workers, or 3 percent.
Education workers at the local level fared worse than those at the state level. Local education workers declined by 204,800, or 2.5 percent.
Non-education workers in local government fared even worse -- employment was down 238,400, or 3.7 percent.
The decline in government workers has certainly had an impact on the overall employment picture. Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, private payrolls have increased by more than 1 million workers, but government payrolls have declined by 493,000 -- cutting the number of jobs created almost in half.