Democrats continue to demand a bailout for the states as part of another COVID-19 relief package, claiming that government layoffs are hampering the recovery. They must have missed the August jobs report, which shows that government workers have suffered least amid the pandemic.
Government added 344,000 jobs for the month, and 238,000 of those were temporary Census workers. But dig into the bowels of the Labor Department report, and the numbers are striking even accounting for the Census. Labor tracks 16 categories of the jobless by industry and class of worker, and in August nearly all of the categories in the private economy had a higher jobless rate than the government rate of 5.7% (not seasonally adjusted).
The exceptions were finance (4.2%) and agricultural wage and salary workers (5.6%). The total for all workers was 8.5%, not seasonably adjusted, but for mining it was 12.4%, transportation and utilities 11.3%, and leisure and hospitality an astounding 21.3%. The self-employed had a 6.8% jobless rate.
In other words, it’s far better during a government-ordered shutdown to work for the government, which can call on taxpayers at will or deficit spend at the federal level. Private employers have little recourse but to lay off workers when government shuts them down.