Commentary: Employment Numbers a Mirage, Emphasize Need for Fiscal Reform

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As you may have seen in the news, the U.S. economy added just over 431,000 jobs in May. Unfortunately, the hiring took place almost exclusively in the public sector, specifically the Census Bureau, while private industry continues to flounder. While it may seem axiomatic that any jobs are good jobs, we are witnessing the government continue to expand and invest in itself while stifling private sector growth.

Appropriately, the Times-Picayune describes private employers as the “backbone of the economy.” Nonetheless, they continue to suffer and the current administration seems not to understand that its policies are partly responsible. “Factories, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality companies, and educational and health care firms all slowed hiring. Financial services, construction companies, and retailers all pared jobs. Government, however… [added] a whopping 390,000 positions last month.”

Private and skilled industries are the motor of our society’s economy. Although it is “good” in a vague sense that the government is keeping people employed, the bulk of these new government hirings are not sustainable, as many were hired for the explicit purpose of assissting in the 2010 census. Despite the ostensible jump in hirings, this jump in employment is merely a chimera. Coming from the New York Times, “altogether, 411,000 of the jobs added were for census workers whose positions will disappear after the summer.”

Despite President Obama’s best efforts to tout this temporal increase as signs of a resurgent economy (the economy is getting “stronger by the day” and “these numbers do mean that we are moving in the right direction”), this latest report instead emphasizes the need for a new direction in our domestic economic policies. Temporary bureaucratic offices may offer a reprieve for some people, but they do nothing to sustain the most essential sector of our economy in the long haul, nor to alleviate the stagnancy of our nation’s financial growth.

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