public sector employment

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein sheds some light on current debate about the role of public sector employment in the slow recovery. He explains:

I ran the numbers on total government employment after the 1981, 1990, 2001 and 2008 recessions. I made government employment on the eve of the recession equal to “1,” so what you’re seeing is total change in the ensuing 54 months, which is how much time has elapsed since the start of this recession.

Based on this analysis, at least, the current recession shows a clear departure from the historical pattern – rising government employment cushioning the recession’s impact. Except for a short spike coinciding with hiring for the decennial census, public sector employment has steadily declined during the current recession.