Private Sector vs. Public Sector Job Growth: Which is More Important?

There’s no debate that job creation is instrumental to an economic rebound. What is not so clear is how to spur hiring.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged members to pass legislation for hiring teachers and police officers, and made the argument that "private sector jobs have been doing just fine."

According to the Labor Department, total non-farm employment has decline 3.7% between September 2008  and September 2011. During the same three-year period, private employment decreased by 3.9% and government employment dropped 2.6%.

But do those in the private sector have different opinions on where jobs need to be created more urgently? Here's what business owners had to say about Reid's controversial statement.

Kim Azille, owner of Azille Enterprises, LLC

Kim Azille, who recently started a personal and professional coaching business, agrees that public sector job creation needs a boost and that teachers and police officer hirings should be a top priority in Washington.

"It is no surprise that our education system in the United States is suffering," she said. "Teachers are a valuable component in ensuring that our education system  provides adequate education and training to our younger generation; yet their jobs are being eliminated."

She worried the repercussions from these cuts will be felt for generations.

"If budget cuts continue, the lack of teachers will result in a generation that will not have the proper education to compete in a global economy or sustain a comfortable living. Additionally, lack of adequate law enforcement will not only affect the communities and people that need protecting, but the entire judicial process; investigations, arrests and other judicial matters will be adversely affected."

Alec Rudin, owner of OnPoint Slides

As a young entrepreneur, Alec Rudin, who started a company that builds slideshow presentations for companies and students earlier this year, said private-sector hiring is more important for growth.

"If businesses and corporations can hire employees, it shows that they are healthy enough to turn a profit. This is especially key to someone like me, who's started a small business that works in a premium capacity that can be cut from other businesses' budgets during tough times," he said. "A healthy private sector is important for more than the aforementioned answer: If these businesses are able to operate well, they will profit, and in turn pay the government via taxes and spending."

The unemployment rate, which has been hovering around 9% for months, proves that the private sector is far from Sen. Reid’s description of "fine," said Rudin. He added that the government has been eliminating public-sector jobs because the government had become too big, and private sector growth will more quickly revive the economy than public-sector hiring.

"In my view, both are sectors in which jobs need to be created quickly, however I think that the priority here is to create private-sector jobs. More employment in private-sector jobs strengthens our country in more ways than hiring in the public sector."

Jenna Ryan, owner of dotJenna

Jenna Ryan, business coach and motivational speaker, said that everyone in this economic climate is hurting, and statements like Sen. Reid’s are unfair to make.

"While I agree that educators and law enforcement are vital needs in any economy, I'm uncomfortable with the basis for this plea. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should find a more compelling reason to hire public employees than 'the public sector is doing fine.'" We are all on the same team. Hiring decisions should be based on need, not arbitrary comparisons."