The Daily Rundown | April 06, 2012
>>> republicans and particularly mitt romney have hammered president obama as a big government president. but do the job numbers bear that out? the president says they don't. he argue the public sector is lagging behind the private sector and said it's the lack of government jobs that's hurting the recovery.
>> if state and local government hiring were basically on par to what our current recovery -- on par to past recoveries the unemployment rate would probably be a point lower than it is right now.
>> so that's our deep dive today. the public sector job front. let's look at the last 12 months and compare the jobs numbers in the private sector with those in the public sector which includes federal, state , local governments about. that time the private sector added more than 2 million jobs while the public sector has lost 223,000. we wanted to go back further to take the recession into account as well. from january of 2009 to february of 2012 , president obama has overseen a cumulative loss of 41,000 private sector jobs. over the same period the public sector lost more than 580,000 jobs. the president made the case if the public sector kept pace with the private sector the jobless rate would be down a full point. we asked mark zandi to do the math, he calculated that the unemployment rate would drop two percentage points -- two tenths of a percentage point down to 8%. the president is urging state and local governments to hire more. a bad economy, when there's reduced tax revenue, it follows that states would cut back. but not all of them are doing it at the same rate. look at this. the roosevelt institute found 40% of all job losses on the local level came from 11 states that by the way went republican in the 2010 midterms where small government policies were promoted. if you add texas you reach more than 155,000 state and local job cuts by those 12 states alone, nearly 3 out of every 4. given that republicans are the party of smaller government, the figures may not be surprising but makes you wonder about the idea promote job growth on one hand while slashing the size of government on the other. do the two go as hand to hand as folks think? maybe federal level is different from state and local. joining me now is alan krueger , chairman of council of economic advisers and have him most fridays these days, monthly jobs fridays. let me ask you about this current report and say, are you disappointed?
>> no, as you have me on every month, every month i say the numbers go up and down. it's important to take a step back and look at each month's report and the context of other data that are coming in. and we see a picture where the economy's continuing to expand. we had 25 straight months of public sector job growth . we've had the best quarter that we've had in six years but there's a lot of work to be done. job growth was too weak even before the recession. the recession made things much worse. we're making progress but there's more progress that we need to make.
>> do you agree with mark zandi who thought the retail number in particular, which probably was the biggest hit for the month when you look at it, we're always looking to see what was the negative and it's usually in the government sector and it wasn't, it was retail, and he didn't believe it. are you in that camp?
>> as i say, you want to look at the numbers and the context of other data that are coming in. the other data suggests that the economy's continuing to heal. we've done a lot of adjustment to make progress on the deep problems that had been building in the economy for a long time. so, for example, unemployment insurance claims hit their lowest level in four years last week. so i think there are lots of signs that the economy's continuing to expand. as i said, i think -- it sounds like mark looks at things the same way -- look at things in the context of all of the data coming in, not overreact to one monthly report. and i think this added to the picture of an economy that's continuing to heal.
>> let me ask you this. how do you speed this up? what point are we going to see the acceleration of job growth ? right now it seems steady and if you look, if this is just a blip but still it sort of a gradual rise, when do you see acceleration?
>> well, you know the numbers move up and down. if you look at the past quarter you do see a stronger job growth than we had seen as i said in any quarter since the last six years. one of the factors that would help accelerate the economy is, as you mentioned, public sector hiring. the president recognizes that state and local governments are going through a very difficult time. the situation's even worse than you indicated because state and local governments lost most of their jobs since the recovery started, about 600,000 state and local government jobs lost since the beginning of the recovery. the recovery act helped state and local governments to retain school teachers, firefighters, policemen, when that money began to phase out, their lay-offs increased. the president has proposed and the american jobs act and in his budget providing more assistance for state and local government so they can keep more teachers in the classroom, help them improve education and help improve our workforce of the future as well as provide more jobs in short run.
>> alan krueger , i've got to leave it there. the president's chairman on council of economic advisers and joins us on jobs report friday.