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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How Many Government Jobs Lost or Added Under Obama? (Updated for December 2015)

How Many Government Jobs (Workers) Have Been Lost Since Obama Took Office?  

How Many Government Jobs (Workers) Have Been Gained Since Obama Took Office?  

From the time Obama took office (January 2009) until now, December 2015:

Total numbers of government jobs, which declined precipitously in 2011-2012, have stabilized and we have added about a hundred thousand government jobs this year. 

We have added about 17,000 FEDERAL government jobs in 2015.  (Federal jobs peaked during the presidency of George H W Bush, back in 1991 and 1992.)  We've added about 30,000 state government jobs in 2015, and about 40,000 local government jobs.  However, the number of "local government: Education" jobs (public elementary and secondary schools) has remained flat this year.  

Broken down by FEDERAL (Federal jobs numbers reported by the BLS do NOT count active military), STATE (state universities, state police, state administrators), and LOCAL (mostly teachers, also police, fire protection, city and county administrators).

Federal jobs, state jobs, local government jobs:

                        Ttl Govt Jobs                Ttl Federal Jobs    
# Jobs January 2009
# Jobs December 2015
Jobs gained/lost: 

                      Ttl State Govt Jobs       Ttl State Govt:  Educ.
  # Jobs January 2009
   # Jobs December 2015
Jobs gained/lost:
                   - 93,000

                  Ttl Local Govt Jobs
       Ttl Local Govt: Educ.
  # Jobs January 2009

   # Jobs April 2015

      Jobs gained/lost:

As mentioned above, the number of federal jobs has increased slightly this year.  Federal jobs peaked in the early 1990's, and we have about the same number of federal jobs now as we had in the mid 2000's and, before that, in the mid 1960's.

The number of state jobs has started to increase this year after decreasing for about 4-5 years. The number of state education jobs (public state universities) continues to increase slightly and has been at a peak this year. 

The total number of local jobs (counties, cities, towns, villages) declined for the past 5 years, but the decline stopped in mid 2013, and we have seen increases in 2014 and 2015.  Local education jobs (think public schools and community colleges) declined for 4 years, but experienced small increases in 2013 through early 2015.  It has declined slightly in the last half of 2015.  This sector, which is the largest government jobs sector, experienced the largest decline in jobs during the recession, and is down about 3.7% from the time that Obama was inaugurated.


  1. Hi Molly these numbers are very disturbing to me because it points out to me the number of teachers, fire fighter and police officers we've lost.

    1. They are definitely disturbing. A half a million city, county, township, and other municipal workers gone. Most of that decrease is in local government-education: 324,600 fewer local government workers in education, out of 8,085,700 in January 2009, a decrease of 4%.

  2. this is good because government jobs are burdens on taxpayers. We should try to minimize all but the necessary gubment jobs. why are there so many wasted useless postitions in government anyway. Are you advocating more government?? curious TW

    1. Do you know what government workers do? Or do you just assume that a government job is some kind of waste?

      Unfortunately, you can see that the biggest dip in government jobs is in the "local government" sector. That sector includes teachers, police officers, firefighters, garbage workers, etc. The biggest losses have been among teachers. Many righties assume that it is a good thing because they do not value education. Are you also in the group who thinks that kids don't deserve decent schools or teachers? Or that education is simply not important? Or that private schools are the answer?

    2. As for me, yes, I advocate government jobs. There is a large misinformation or propaganda agenda that misleads most Americans about the benefits of government. Every time a job is lost, government or private, we now pay them to do nothing while they try to find a job in this GOP Global Recession. The government actually does everything at a lesser cost to us than private industry. Think what it would cost to have to pay for all of the things the government does. What would we pay for water? Well, we know what we pay for a bottle of water, imagine that water bill. Look at Medicare, the cost of private insurance to run is 3 times that of Medicare. It's no surprise when you consider what we pay to make CEOs multi-billionaires.

  3. I can't help but think if we weren't bleeding government jobs, that the economy would be flourishing. If unemployment was that much lower, there would be that much more money being spent, that much more taxes being collected, that much fewer people being supported by the taxpayer, and that would be creating that much MORE private sector jobs.

  4. Just noticed this message string.....listen...,most reasonable people are not against government jobs....just against wasteful public sector jobs! Given the change in the country over the years and the global economy and the need to compete internationally....the private sector job market has changed...with a major reduction of retirement plans and accompanied benefit packages....while public jobs still maintain improved salaries and benefit packages that are paid for by the working class. Also, unlike private sector jobs where performance and demonstration of skills and abilities are always expected or else, public sector jobs have not such obligations and usually maintained through political connections or patronage. Also, any increase in public jobs is usually a drain on the economy since they don't produce anything but increased costs for that these types of jobs should be kept at a minimum...just enough to deliver the basic services required to maintain a community....and not to expand just to increase staff.

  5. How many of those government jobs that were cut were military?

    1. These numbers do not include military, only civilian employees, not do they include private DofD contractors. The number of civilian employees in the Department of Defense when Obama took office was 504,000. This number gradually increased to 560,00 in summer of 2011 and it has decreased over the past four years. In May 2015, we have 517,000 civilian employees in the Department of Defense.

  6. We should be applauding and showing gratitude to public workers, not demonizing them. Privatizing the work they do from garbage pick up, policing, and education (charter schools) enriches the owners and actually lowers the wages of the workers who do the work. It is no surprise that the economy has not improved much because the people who actually spend money have little to spend. "Trickle down" has never worked.

  7. Your information is helpful for us, thanks for sharing your details.

    State Government Jobs


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