Grasping at Straws: Right-Wing Media Say Government Jobs Led To Unemployment Rate Drop


Right-wing media claim that the recently reported drop in unemployment was caused by a high rate of public sector hiring. In fact, private sector job growth far outpaces public sector employment.

Jobs Report Shows Unemployment Rate Fell To 7.8 Percent

Bureau of Labor Statistics: "The Unemployment Rate Decreased To 7.8 Percent In September."According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the September Jobs Report showed a decrease in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, and an increase in the civilian labor force:

The unemployment rate decreased to 7.8 percent in September, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 114,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care and in transportation and warehousing but changed little in most other major industries.


Total employment rose by 873,000 in September, following 3 months of little change. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.4 percentage point to 58.7 percent, after edging down in the prior 2 months. The overall trend in the employment-population ratio for this year has been flat. The civilian labor force rose by 418,000 to 155.1 million in September, while the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.6 percent. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/5/12]

Right-Wing Media Credit Public Sector Hiring For Drop In Unemployment Rate

WSJ's Stephen Moore: "We Did See A Big Increase In Government Employment." On Fox, The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore credited the drop in the unemployment rate to public sector job growth, saying: "We did see a big increase in government employment. And that makes one wonder what's with the big surge of government hiring right now?" [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 10/5/12] "Jobs Numbers Boosted By Broke Governments." A post claimed that "Cash-strapped state governments and the federal government added thousands of jobs in July, August and September, boosting overall jobs numbers."  [, 10/5/12]

Dana Loesch: "Unemployment Problem? Just Create Government Jobs." Dana Loesch tweeted a suggestion that the unemployment rate fell because of the creation of government jobs:

[Twitter, 10/5/12]

In Fact, Less Than 10 Percent Of Jobs Added In The Past Month Were Public Sector Jobs

Bureau Of Labor Statistics: "Total Private Employment Rose By 104,000" In September. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported: "In September, total private employment rose by 104,000, bringing the year-to-date gain to 1.3 million." [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/5/12]

By Contrast, The Public Sector Expanded By Only 10,000 New Jobs.  According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the public sector expanded by 10,000 jobs in the last month. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, 4,000 of these jobs were in the federal government. Public sector job growth accounts for a little more than 9 percent of job growth over the last month. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/5/12, St. Louis Federal Reserve, accessed 10/5/12]

Posted In
Stephen Moore, Martha MacCallum
America's Newsroom
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