The Shrinking Private Sector Employment Picture


Catching up on some reading this afternoon, I came across these graphs from Jake at EconomPic

Jake provides some background for interpreting these charts:

This result is even more shocking when you take into account that the “working population” is about 20% larger than it was in 1999. Before we dive further into the data, let’s first define what the “working population” (i.e. civilian noninstitutional population) is:

The civilian noninstitutional population consists of persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces. California is the most populous State, with about 27.9 million persons in this category in 2008; Wyoming is the least populous State, with just over 410,000 persons.

 I don’t want to read too much into these numbers but they do strike me as oddly troubling. If you subscribe to the notion that wealth creation comes from the private sector then they would suggest one of two things. Either the private sector is becoming much more efficient and needs fewer workers or it is shrinking and thus threatening the country’s ability to grow. You can take your pick or advance an alternative idea.

I do know that were I a college graduate these days, I would look long and hard at the prospects of taking a job in the private sector. It sure doesn’t look like a growth job market. 



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