Take a Guess What the Fastest Growing Jobs Sector Has Been

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The jobs market is still going strong, with 187,000 jobs created in August and an unemployment rate at a near-record low of 3.8%. But what hasn’t been widely reported or commented on is that fully 20% of new hires over the first eight months of 2023 have been employed by state, local, and federal governments.


This hiring bonanza compares to just 5% of new hires being employed by governments over the first eight months of 2022.

Part of the reason for the surge in government hiring is the millions of teachers, police officers, and other public servants who quit during the pandemic. Other positions in government went unfilled because the private sector was so desperate to hire back their employees, they gave huge bonuses and other incentives to workers in order to entice them back to work.

Wall Street Journal:

Public-sector jobs at the federal, state and local level have risen by 327,000 positions so far in 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is approaching one-fifth of all new American jobs created in the first eight months of the year. In contrast, public-sector jobs accounted for 5% of employment growth during the equivalent period last year.

“After two years of very underwhelming government hiring, it’s a necessary catch-up,” said Julia Pollak, an economist at online jobs site ZipRecruiter.

Is it really a “necessary catch-up”? Was there a huge fall-off in the quality of government services? If there was, it wasn’t noticeable. Could it be that maybe, perhaps, possibly a great number of the employees hired back in 2023 weren’t really necessary in the first place?


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“First rule in government spending: why build one when you can have two at twice the price?” remarked the fictional S.R. Hadden in the film “Contact.” There is no place in the U.S. economy more prone to duplication of effort or unnecessary workers than in government.

But just as layoffs hit sectors from tech to finance, government agencies have boosted funding for new hires and have dangled richer perks. This year’s growth in public-sector jobs represents the highest share of overall U.S. payroll gains since 2001, when the government hired masses of workers focused on public safety after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pollak said.

There are some necessary increases in staffing. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has beefed up its border enforcement force but is still falling short of what’s needed. The CBP is offering bonuses of up to $20,000 for jobs in some locations.

And for other positions in the public sector, pay is way up.

A ZipRecruiter analysis found that postings for government jobs listed on its site this year advertise pay 20% higher than they did last year. Raises for firefighters and police officers, as well as many types of social work, fueled the higher pay number. Meanwhile, companies across tech, transportation and manufacturing, among other industries, are offering less pay for the same roles than they did last year—and are adding new hurdles for job applicants to clear.


We have a big government, and it takes a lot of employees to make sure that what the federal, state, and local governments have been tasked with by elected lawmakers can be accomplished efficiently.

But you would think that before they hired more workers, government would make sure they gave enough to the workers already working.


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