Maybe the Private Sector IS Doing Fine

More

Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider has assembled a 24-slide show to illustrate what President Obama meant when he infamously said the private sector is "doing fine." Below are the three key graphs. They don't change the fact that, obviously, the private sector has a ways to go before its recovery is complete. But they're powerful enough to make me wonder: What if Obama, rather than just try to walk back his unfortunate choice of words, trotted out some visual aids and spent 60 seconds explaining exactly what he meant? 'Professorial' can be a feature, not a bug.

The first graph illustrates that, since the end of Obama's first year in office, private sector employment has indeed recovered steadily and is now back to where it was when he took office--around 111 million jobs.

JobsPriv.JPG

Unfortunately, the growth in private sector employment has been counteracted by a drop in public sector employment. This is the graph for state and local government jobs:

JobsStateLocal.JPG


The final graph adds federal jobs to state and local jobs to get the number for total public sector employment. (Presumably that spike mainly reflects hiring for the census.)

JobsUSGovt.JPG

Jump to comments
Presented by

Robert Wright is the author of, most recently, the New York Times bestseller The Evolution of God and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic. More

Wright is also a fellow at the New America Foundation and editor in chief of Bloggingheads.tv. His other books include Nonzero, which was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book in 2000 and included on Fortune magazine's list of the top 75 business books of all-time. Wright's best-selling book The Moral Animal was selected as one of the ten best books of 1994 by The New York Times Book Review.Wright has contributed to The Atlantic for more than 20 years. He has also contributed to a number of the country's other leading magazines and newspapers, including: The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Time, and Slate, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. He is the recipient of a National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism and his books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

An Eerie Tour of Chernobyl's Wasteland

"Do not touch the water. There is nothing more irradiated than the water itself."


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In