"Big government ain't what it used to be," Jordan Weissmann writes in The Atlantic. Even since the recession officially ended in January 2009 and the recovery started, state, local and federal governments have collectively shed 584,000 jobs.
While most of those losses have occurred at the state and local levels, the federal sector has begun to shrink at a rapid rate. In total, there are now 196,000 more unemployed government workers than at the beginning of the recovery.
This stands in sharp contrast to previous economic recoveries, during which government payrolls increased at a fairly rapid rate, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute.
On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the economy added 120,000 jobs in March, a figure that was significantly lower than expected. U.S. News and World Report noted that the report showed some favorable trends: the health care and manufacturing sectors added jobs, for example. But "for nearly two years, government has almost always lost jobs. Even with the recovery picking up steam, this trend of public sector cuts could last for a very long time."