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Thread: The Private-Sector Recovery

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    Nobody expects the Forum Administrator Lemur's Avatar
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    Arrow The Private-Sector Recovery

    A couple of recent articles jumped out at me, made me curious to hear the Org's take.

    First there's this one, about how weird the recent recovery has been in relation to other post-recession bounce-backs. Essentially, every other time in recent U.S. history, public sector has led the way with job creation. This time? Public sector job cuts are slowing us down. A bit of detail:

    Public sector employment has fallen sharply in the wake of The Great Recession, which is markedly different from every other recession of the past 35 years, according to a new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.

    Government jobs held steady between December 2007, when the downturn began, and September 2009, when it officially ended. That was largely due to beefed up aid to state and local governments contained in the Obama administration’s $787 billion stimulus package. When that disappeared, so did more than 600,000 state and local teacher, police, firefighter and other public sector jobs, which added about a half percentage point to the overall unemployment rate.

    Which president’s economic recovery benefited most from an increasing number of government jobs? Oddly enough, it was President Ronald Reagan, who successfully ran for re-election in 1984 by proclaiming it was “morning in America.” Reagan, running in a year when unemployment fell over a percentage point to 7.5 percent, is generally (and incorrectly) remembered as the first conservative president to dramatically shrink the size and role of government.



    Interestingly, only 13% of those public job losses were on the Federal level. And the majority of states didn't go on firing binges; if you run the numbers, twelve states were responsible for 70% of the total public sector job cuts. Detail:

    Of the eleven states in which Republicans came into power in 2010 – Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – five were among the seven states that lost more than 2.5 percent of their workforce from December 2010 to December 2011. [...]

    Overall, these 1 states were responsible for 40 percent of the total state and local public sector job losses in 2011. Add to these Texas, which because of its large size is responsible for 31 percent of the total at the state and local level. Taken together, these 12 red states drove over 70 percent of the total losses. The rest of the states suffered much smaller losses or even slight gains.



    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Lemur; 04-06-2012 at 19:51.
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    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Heavy thread for Friday afternoon. Did you see the study that found the dramatic rise in government employee salaries during the recession?


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    Part-Time Polemic Senior Member ICantSpellDawg's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    The reason that we arn't seeing the spike in public sector employment shown in other recoveries is that the recovery has not begun. We are still in the doldrums and are just getting used to it at this point, making it feel like a recovery.
    Last edited by ICantSpellDawg; 04-06-2012 at 20:52.
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    Nobody expects the Forum Administrator Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by ICantSpellDawg View Post
    The reason that we arn't seeing the spike in private sector employment
    You're misreading the numbers. Private sector employment has been up for seven quarters, I believe. Maybe more. I'd have to Google it, and I'm on deadline. The graphs I posted are of public-sector employment.

    By private-sector standards, we are well into recovery.
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    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    I don't understand economics...what's the connection between public sector employment and exiting the recession? I mean, what's the theory other than that in the past public sector jobs have increased as we left a recession.

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    Part-Time Polemic Senior Member ICantSpellDawg's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    You're right, I meant public sector. I was talking about the first chart that you had posted. Maybe we are getting serious about shrinking the role of government.
    Last edited by ICantSpellDawg; 04-06-2012 at 20:55.
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    Nobody expects the Forum Administrator Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro View Post
    what's the connection between public sector employment and exiting the recession?
    Total employment and economic activity. So for example, a Marine in Camp Pendelton is considered employed. He buys things, he spends money, he generates economic activity. From the economy's perspective, he is adding to the bottom line, and it doesn't matter that his paycheck comes from your and my taxes. What's interesting about this recovery is that net public employment has been consistently down, so overall economic activity looks lower than it actually is. (Or you could say this is the true state, if you discount all public spending, which is tough to do.)

    In a not-uncommon case of cognitive dissonance, many of the politicians criticizing the recovery are the same people responsible for or advocating a shrinking of public sector employment. (At least as long as there's a Democrat at the top of the Executive branch. Once there's a Republican? Not so much.)

    So we've had something like two years of consistent growth fueled entirely by the private sector, hence the name of the thread. I find this interesting.
    Last edited by Lemur; 04-06-2012 at 21:32.
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    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    It should be a good thing yeah???

    I mean, the job cuts to public sector conceivable slow the recovery down, but the also keep us from going so far in debt.

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    Nobody expects the Forum Administrator Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro View Post
    It should be a good thing yeah???
    It certainly points to the underlying strength of the American economy, that's certain.
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    Senior Member Senior Member gaelic cowboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    I'm guessing household debt is not coming down as quickly or as easily as in past recessions.
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    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    Total employment and economic activity. So for example, a Marine in Camp Pendelton is considered employed. He buys things, he spends money, he generates economic activity. From the economy's perspective, he is adding to the bottom line, and it doesn't matter that his paycheck comes from your and my taxes. What's interesting about this recovery is that net public employment has been consistently down, so overall economic activity looks lower than it actually is. (Or you could say this is the true state, if you discount all public spending, which is tough to do.)

    In a not-uncommon case of cognitive dissonance, many of the politicians criticizing the recovery are the same people responsible for or advocating a shrinking of public sector employment. (At least as long as there's a Democrat at the top of the Executive branch. Once there's a Republican? Not so much.)

    So we've had something like two years of consistent growth fueled entirely by the private sector, hence the name of the thread. I find this interesting.
    Right, the Public Sector is essential, the litteral heart of the economy in that it pumps blood (money) trhough the system and prevents it from seizing up. After a crash the stimulus usually applied acts as CPR, keeping the heart pumping until the economy (and tax reciepts) recover, the stimulus also signals a vote of confidence from the government and therefore (hopefully) encourages private investment. However, the "Great Recession" was the result of governments overborrowing. Not only does this make a stimulus difficult, it changes the confidence dynamic, what investors want to see is not a splurge, but serious and considered belt tightening to demonstrate the government is "a safe pair of hands" that can be trusted until the tax reciepts pick up. Anotheer thing a stimulus usually does is hude the trough in the private sector, evening the crash out a bit.

    Of course, the one thing the Public Sector can't do is bring money into the economy, but because goverment employees can't spend abroad it can still bleed money out.

    This is why, in this recession those economies that are now recovering are the ones who could intially provide a stimulus and were then able to cut successfully and prudently, or whose economies are so strong that they didn't post large defecits. THe US is a speical case because as a Superpower your money will always be good.

    More general examples are Germany (growing rapidly, no defecit) the UK (beginning to grow slowly and picking up, has made credible cuts but is struggling because we have no one to sell to) and Greece (fiscal heart attack, large defecit, no ability to provide a stimulus has resulted in reckless defecit cutting and economic collapse.)

    So, go USA - we're depending on your private sector.
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    It's not really "tacking the issue of big government" when they are cutting teachers, firefighters and cops instead of bureaucratic jobs.

    But's lets continue to point the finger that those wasteful teachers that are ruining our budgets.
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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    There's a big misunderstanding going around; that the public sector spends, while the private sector creates wealth.

    Which of course is just simple rubbish. It's the nature of the service/company which decides whether it spends or creates, not its ownership. A hospital spends money regardless of its ownership, while a nail factory creates money regqrdless of its ownership.
    Last edited by HoreTore; 04-07-2012 at 21:57.
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    There's a big misunderstanding going around; that the public sector spends, while the private sector creates wealth.

    Which of course is just simple rubbish. It's the nature of the service/company which decides whether it spends or creates, not its ownership. A hospital spends money regardless of its ownership, while a nail factory creates money regqrdless of its ownership.
    That's not exactly true, a state run hospital will generally uses taxes to treat citizens, while a private hospital will bring money into the country when it treats foriegn nationals. Likewise, a nail factory only makes money for the economy if the nails are exported or they go into something that is exported. If all those nails build houses in their country of origin then just like a public sector hospital they do not generate wealth, they merely push the existing wealth through the national economy.

    A country becomes richer when its exports generate more cash than it spends on imports, if it spends more than it makes the country gets poorer and GDP goes down. Of course, this equation is muddied by inflation, which makes it look like everyone is making money when in reality for one country to get richer another must become poorer.

    So for Europe this means we need to sell more to China and India, especially China, so that more money flows out of the Chinese economy into the European one than flows into it from the European one.
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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    No.

    I stand by Adam Smith's definition; the wealth of a nation is determined by its annual land and labour-product. Creating a nail is the essence of creating wealth:

    Let's say a man has 1 nail. Then he makes 3 more. Thus, through his labour and what he has taken from the land, he is now a wealthy 4-nail tycoon.

    Wealth isn't created through trade with others, it is created by creating stuff. Odd concept, eh? Who pays for the workers upkeep while the nails are created, the government or a capitalist, is of no concern.

    Trade is all nice and good as it allows people to focus on creating one thing to barter with what someone else is making, however it does not create any wealth itself. And the export/import-focus is re-donculous.
    Last edited by HoreTore; 04-07-2012 at 23:58.
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Services are an equally valid source of wealth. That it is not a physical construct does not invalidate it as being worth something.

    The nail was created from iron ore, which is an item of less value and knowledge helped create something of increased utility. A nail is of itself of little value. If someone else has the knowledge to use it to create something of increased utility they have equally created wealth. The difficulty is that industries that create something from physical goods are difficult to relocate compared to those who deal with knowledge which can relocate much more easily.

    Hospitals could in some cases be viewed as creating wealth if they are helping productive workers to continue to be productive workers. They are not doing so if they are spending resources on those that will not create wealth.

    And how is a country that runs a chronic trade deficit is in essence trying to purchase something with IOUs which will become less and less valid if the country is not creating anything to repay these debts?

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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    For the purposes of this thread, what exactly is "public sector employment"? If a private sector company hires a bunch of people to work on government contracts, this skews the data somewhat.

    It's somewhat ironic that red-state governments are shedding their workforce. While some of it is just the results of lowered revenue due to the recession/housing crash, reducing the local government without shrinking the federal just consolidates more power at the federal level. This effect is the opposite of what conservatives should want.
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    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    I'm having trouble with this belief that we're "well into recovery." 2% growth and a poor jobs report leading to a stock market plunge is more like treading water. 5% unemployment is a .long way off


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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    I agree completely with rory's post. I could've written "creating stuff and services", but that would've taken a couple of seconds more to do, and I'm lazy.

    Products are the foundation, though. It's possible to have life without the service sector, but it would be completely impossible without any products. For starters, unless someone invented a way to eat a massage, we would starve to death.
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    Products are the foundation, though. It's possible to have life without the service sector, but it would be completely impossible without any products. For starters, unless someone invented a way to eat a massage, we would starve to death.
    Unless you view picking of fruit and eating it straight afterwards as "creating" product you are quite wrong. The massage/hair dressing/manicure/pedicure services predate the farm by more than the existence of the human species...
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Tellos Athenaios View Post
    Unless you view picking of fruit and eating it straight afterwards as "creating" product you are quite wrong. The massage/hair dressing/manicure/pedicure services predate the farm by more than the existence of the human species...
    The fruit is the product, yes, and picking it is labour/"creating" it.
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    No.

    I stand by Adam Smith's definition; the wealth of a nation is determined by its annual land and labour-product. Creating a nail is the essence of creating wealth:

    Let's say a man has 1 nail. Then he makes 3 more. Thus, through his labour and what he has taken from the land, he is now a wealthy 4-nail tycoon.

    Wealth isn't created through trade with others, it is created by creating stuff. Odd concept, eh? Who pays for the workers upkeep while the nails are created, the government or a capitalist, is of no concern.

    Trade is all nice and good as it allows people to focus on creating one thing to barter with what someone else is making, however it does not create any wealth itself. And the export/import-focus is re-donculous.
    No, Adam Smith was wrong, because something only has value when you trade it, either for cash or for another item. Creating wealth is the art of making the better trade. Your notional four-nail main eith has to use those nails in something else (a chair perhaps) or sell them for food. If he doesn't sell the chair for food he has to either grow the food himself or make something else to sell for food.

    If Adam Smith were right then we would have no rish men, just lots of co-operatives, but men get rich by buying the labour of other men cheaply, using it to make product and selling it for more than the labour and materials are worth.

    This is called "profit" - you may have heard of it, even in your Socialist Oil-fuelled paradise. Actually, that's an excellent example, Norway has made huge amounts of money by extracting oil on it's door step and then selling it at massively marked up prices, much more than it costs to extract and transport.

    While's we're on the subject, Smith was wrong about somethin else. Capitalism reduces quality because it competes on margin, not product - the person who is most succesful is not the person who makes the best product, but the one who is able to make the product for the lowest percentage of it's sale price.

    Further, if Smith were correct Britain would never have become a Superfpower, because we built ships and trains, but we sold cotton and comodities. We made out money through trade.

    I stand by my original point, a country will become poorer if it only imports and does not export, as the State is generally involed in the provision of services it tends only towards the latter, and over time this leads to the country becoming poorer. Even if you agree in principle, you much be able to see that it is true in pratice. Countries with higher tax revenues and larger state expenditure grow more slowly or shrink. The ultimate example of this would be the US and the USSR, the US defeated the USSR by raising it's government expenditure building ships, tanks and planes. The USSR went bankrupt because it couldn't afford to keep up, because money was flowing out of its economy and into the American one via trade, anyone who could get hard currency in Russia spent it afroad.
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    Senior Member Senior Member gaelic cowboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Adam Smith never sold a bullock or a weanling at the fairday obviously then so, things only have value if someone is willing to do a deal.


    Creating a product in and of itself makes nobody rich, if I make a PC Game and no one buys it then tis worthless.
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    PVC, you're off-base. Adam Smith believed wealth is truly created when two people trade and both come away with an advantage. Our current global economy (and the global economy that has existed for a very long time) has more to do with trying to screw the other person over so that only one party recieves an advantage.
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    We need to start making more nails
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    A little more perspective: Without the slashes in government payrolls, the unemployment rate would be around 7.1%, which is a marked difference.

    One reason the unemployment rate may have remained persistently high: The sharp cuts in state and local government spending in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and the layoffs those cuts wrought.

    The Labor Department’s establishment survey of employers — the jobs count that it bases its payroll figures on — shows that the government has been steadily shedding workers since the crisis struck, with 586,000 fewer jobs than in December 2008. Friday’s employment report showed the cuts continued in April, with 15,000 government jobs lost.

    But the survey of households that the unemployment rate is based on suggests the government job cuts have been much, much worse.

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    The Black Moderator Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    PVC explain Apple products which on the whole have the best hardware design yet the largest profit margin leading to one of the most wealthiest companies in history.

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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Papewaio View Post
    PVC explain Apple products which on the whole have the best hardware design yet the largest profit margin leading to one of the most wealthiest companies in history.
    Sure that only proves someone is willing to do a deal to pay a big amount for it.
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    You're misreading the numbers. Private sector employment has been up for seven quarters, I believe. Maybe more. I'd have to Google it, and I'm on deadline. The graphs I posted are of public-sector employment.
    Your chart looks a little 'weasely' to me.... Look at the source, "author's analysis".

    Setting that aside, it doesn't chart changes in private sector employment. I think that'd be useful when comparing the recessions. We're 5 years from the start of our current recession and our private sector job growth is still extremely anemic. The last numbers for March to April are only 119,000 private sector jobs. The figure for required job growth just to keep up with population is usually pegged at 150,000.

    Private sector job growth isn't even enough to keep up with population growth. The only reason the unemployment % crept down is because record numbers of workers are becoming discouraged and leaving the work force.
    Last edited by Xiahou; 05-10-2012 at 15:53.
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    Nobody expects the Forum Administrator Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Private-Sector Recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou View Post
    Look at the source, "author's analysis".
    Yes, it's a Business Insider/Fiscal Times analysis (key bit you omitted) of "Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics public data series." Here's the gateway to the raw data. Cheers.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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