21,995,000 to 12,329,000: Government Employees Outnumber Manufacturing Employees 1.8 to 1

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 8, 2015 | 11:14 AM EDT
(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

(CNSNews.com) - Those employed by government in the United States in August of this year outnumbered those employed in the manufacturing sector by almost 1.8 to 1, according to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 21,995,000 employed by federal, state and local government in the United States in August, according to BLS. By contrast, there were only 12,329,000 employed in the manufacturing sector.

The BLS has published seasonally-adjusted month-by-month employment numbers for both government and manufacturing going back to 1939. In the first 50 years of the 76-year span since then, manufacturing out-employed government. But in August 1989, government overtook manufacturing as a U.S. employer.

That month, government employed 17,989,000 and manufacturing employed 17,964,000.

Since then, government employment has increased 4,006,000 and manufacturing employment has declined 5,635,000.

 

According to the BLS data, seasonally-adjusted manufacturing employment in the United States peaked in June 1979, when it hit 19,553,000. Seasonally-adjusted government employment peaked in May 2010, when it hit 22,996,000.

(However, government employment in May and June of 2010 was unusually high because of temporary workers hired to help conduct the decennial census. In April 2010, there were 22,569,000 government employees in the United States. That climbed to the peak of 22,996,000 in May 2010, then dropped to 22,740,000 in June, and returned to 22,659,000 in July 2010.)

There were more Americans employed in manufacturing in 1941 in the months leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor than are employed in manufacturing in the United States today, according to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This August, according to BLS’s seasonally adjusted data, there were 12,329,000 employed by the manufacturing sector in the United States. But back in August 1941, there were 12,532,000 employed by the manufacturing sector. By December 1941, the month of the Pearl Harbor attack, employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector had risen to 12,876,000.

 

The 12,532,000 employed in manufacturing in August 1941 equaled 1 manufacturing worker for each 10.6 people in the overall population (which the Census Bureau estimated at  133,402,471 in July 1941). The 12,329,000 employed in manufacturing in August 2015 equaled 1 manufacturing worker for each 26.1 people in the overall population (which the Census Bureau estimated at 321,191,461 in July 2015).

The 4,821,000 people employed by government in August 1941 equaled 1 for each 27.7 people in the overall population of 133,402,471. The 21,995,000 employed by government in August 2015 equaled 1 for each 14.6 people in the overall population of 321,191,461.

Of the 21,995,000 employed by government in August, 2,738,000 worked for the federal government (including 596,500 who worked for the Postal Service), 5,092,000 worked for state governments, and 14,165,000 worked for local governments.

State and local government employees include large numbers of people employed in education. Of the 5,092,000 who worked for state governments in August, 2,446,300 (or 48 percent) worked in education. Of the 14,165,000 who worked for local governments, 7,852,500 (or 55.4 percent) worked in education.