The jobs picture — it’s worse than you think. Alan Tonelson has come up with a new way of looking at which jobs are really private sector. And the sad results show just how deeply the cancer of big government has metastasized into our once-free markets:
Creating private-sector jobs — not adding to government payrolls — is the key to achieving a genuine recovery. But employment statistics define the private sector far too broadly. The numbers include too many industries in which demand, and therefore employment, depends heavily on subsidies.
Health care is responsible for most of the over-count — which can be estimated with some confidence using Labor Department data — with social-service providers and private education institutions also contributing to the problem.
The latest jobs report for May shows just how badly these sectors distort the employment figures. According to the Labor Department, private businesses added 83,000 jobs compared with April levels, falling far short of forecasts. (Figures for both months are still preliminary.) By subtracting the 34,000 jobs added in the health-care, social-service and education sectors, the number of new private-sector positions shrinks to just 49,000.
Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, the disparity has been much wider. Private-sector employment grew by a seasonally adjusted 980,000 in the last two years. That pales beside the 7.7 million private-sector jobs lost during the recession, but at least optimists can call it a start.
Yet after subtracting the subsidized private-sector totals, this modest employment recovery becomes positively dismal: Almost 8.4 million genuine private-sector jobs were lost during the recession, and only 291,000 have been regained.
And with ObamaCare coming into effect, the health-care sector overcount will get worse, not better.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We’ve been going down the path of “Smaller crops, bigger locusts” for far too long. Right now is the time to reverse course, if it isn’t too late already.