Good News: March Job Growth, Bad News: Over Half are Government Jobs

Posted on March 30, 2010

From The Hill:

The economy is expected to have added hundreds of thousands of jobs in March, bolstering the Obama administration’s arguments that the $787 billion stimulus package is having an impact.

Private forecasts on the unemployment report to be released on Friday predict as many as 200,000 jobs will have been created by the economy in March.

Economist Mark Zandi, who advised Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 campaign and Democrats during the crafting of the stimulus, projects 175,000 jobs will be added to payrolls this month.

The news sounds good doesn’t it?  Even if it isn’t a terribly large amount compared to the millions who are unemployed/underemployed, at least jobs weren’t lost in March.  But the catch is contained in the article’s next paragraph:

Zandi’s estimate is that 100,000 of those jobs will be created by the Census Bureau, which is hiring hundreds of thousands of workers to go door to door to get people to fill out their censuses.

So half, and possibly an even larger percentage of the jobs, added to the economy, come in the form of temporary (read a few months here) jobs for the government.  Once the census work is completed, these people will once again be out of work.

And even with the government hiring, don’t expect it to affect the unemployment numbers:

There’s also the need to create jobs for those who left the workforce. Millions of workers gave up looking for jobs during the height of the recession. The return of those workers to hiring lines will put pressure on the unemployment rate to rise.

So when the Democrats start to crow that their $787 billion stimulus boondoggle has created a substantial number of jobs, take their claims with a huge grain of salt.

Posted in: Economy