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Chart: Government jobs, which have generally increased during and after recessions, have declined 2.3 percent since the most recent one began in late 2007.
If you want to know why the U.S. economy hasn't been recovering from the great recession fast enough, there's one word that will take you a long ways toward the answer: austerity. All the Republican talk of big government blah blah blah is meant to cover up realities like this:
Federal, state and local governments now employ 500,000 fewer workers than they did on the eve of the recession in 2007, the longest and deepest decline in total government employment since the aftermath of World War II.

Total government spending continues to increase, but those broader figures include benefit programs like Social Security. Government purchases and investments expand the nation’s economy, just as private sector transactions do, while benefit programs move money from one group of people to another without directly expanding economic activity.

That's in marked contrast to how we recovered from recessions in the past, as the graph at the top shows. Meanwhile, inflation-adjusted federal, state, and local government consumption and investment has declined by 4.9 percent.

Chart: Federal government spending often falls after recessions and wars, but the current round of cuts in investment and spending on goods and services is unusually deep. Combined with cuts by state and local governments, the drop in government’s contribution to economic growth is the largest in more than 50 years.

And with the sequester, we're heading for more cuts. Basically, the United States economy is in a hole and Republicans are yelling "dig faster." They'd probably bring in hole-digging equipment if they didn't worry that might create government jobs.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 01:06 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Invisible People, Daily Kos Economics, and Daily Kos.

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