Only Obama’s Public Sector Is Doing Fine

What a surprise.  Empirical data from researchers at the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation reveal that employees in the private sector spend an additional month working each year compared to those in the public sector.

The Wall Street Journal reports,

With state and local governments struggling to balance budgets in a still sluggish economy, government employment has fallen by 562,000 jobs since September 2008, a decline of 2.6%. In response, the Obama administration has called for more federal aid—on top of the $250 billion doled out in the 2009 Recovery Act—to help keep state and local government payrolls near prerecession levels.

But supporters of more federal aid implicitly assume that the size of the public sector was optimal before the recession. On the contrary, overstaffing is a serious problem in government, and the best evidence is a simple empirical fact: Government employees don’t work as much as private employees. If public-sector employees just worked as many hours as their private counterparts, governments at all levels could save more than $100 billion in annual labor costs.

How do we know that? Are we just dredging up well-worn stereotypes of government employees enjoying shorter work days, prolonged sick leave and extended vacation breaks? In fact, new evidence from a comprehensive and objective data set confirms that the “underworked” government employee is more than a stereotype.  …

The time-use survey’s data on work time are far more comprehensive and objective than any other available data source. The survey doesn’t undercount working at home versus working at an office, or working evenings rather than working regular business hours. If, for example, an individual was working at 2 a.m. on the weekend, the American Time Use Survey will account for it.  …

What we found was that during a typical workweek, private-sector employees work about 41.4 hours. Federal workers, by contrast, put in 38.7 hours, and state and local government employees work 38.1 hours. In a calendar year, private-sector employees work the equivalent of 3.8 more 40-hour workweeks than federal employees and 4.7 more weeks than state and local government workers.  Put another way, private employees spend around an extra month working each year compared with public employees. If the public sector worked that additional month, governments could theoretically save around $130 billion in annual labor costs without reducing services.  …

Based on the most detailed and objective data set available, the private sector really does work more than the public sector. This fact may hold different lessons for different people, but our own take is simple: Before we ask private-sector employees to work more to support government, government itself should work as much as the private sector.

Compare this with the unemployment chart below of the public and private sectors.

oil-private

Chart from the American Enterprise Institute

We could save $130 billion by reducing the unproductive bloat of Obama’s precious government empire.  Instead, Obama would rather divert the country with hatred and division by maligning the private sector producers.  Resulting in more unemployment for the hardest workers.

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