Entries in Private Sector (11)


Obama Says the Private Sector Is Doing Fine

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Making the case that the areas of the U.S. economy that need help are in state and local government and construction, President Obama Friday said that “the private sector is doing fine.”

The president made his case in a hastily-announced press conference where he cautioned the public that economic troubles in Europe could adversely impact the U.S. if steps are not taken to cushion the blow with jobs programs. The president called on Congress to pass legislation to aid state and local governments to hire police officers, firefighters, and teachers, and to spend money on infrastructure projects that would aid the struggling construction industry. For months, Obama has been campaigning throughout the country with a “To Do List” for Congress, and a “Jobs Bill,” that he says would help the economy during this period when the economic recovery is stalling.

“We’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last…27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone,” the president said, “the private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility of the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”

Obama said that “if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is how do we help state and local governments, and how do we help the construction industry, because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the…economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market and would result, I think most economists estimate, in slower growth and fewer jobs, not more.”

Several times during his remarks, which included taking questions from three reporters, the president suggested that the private sector was in a good place. “We’ve seen record profits in the corporate sector,” he said.

Republicans pounced on the remarks, seeking to use them to depict the president as out of touch. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a statement that “It’s baffling that in the face of all evidence to the contrary, this President still believes that spending money we don’t have to inflate the government is the answer to America’s economic problems. The economy would respond much more favorably to providing the tax certainty Americans deserve by extending all the tax rates and assuring employers they do not have to budget for the largest tax increase in American history next year. The Obama Economy is even slower now than when we extended the rates in 2010—raising taxes on job creators in this slow economy is simply not the elixir for his failed policies.”

Ana Navarro, a former adviser to the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., tweeted: “Obama camp, remember crucifying McCain when he said 9/15/08: ‘The fundamentals of our economy are sound’? What goes around, comes around.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Amid Threat of 'Big Government', Govt. Payrolls Shrinking

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A Gallup poll released Monday showed that the government is sloughing off jobs at every level, with local, state and federal governments shedding about 1 percent of their combined work force last year.

The cuts can't come fast enough, according to the results of a poll in December in which a majority of Americans railed against "Big Government."

While government employment decreased in 18 of the past 24 months, private sector employment grew in 23 out of those 24 months.

The 280,000 public sector jobs cut at all levels of government in 2011 were only a starting point for the cuts some GOP candidates hope to make to federal payrolls.

“The American people are increasingly working to support the government,” Mitt Romney said after he unveiled his budget-cutting plan in November. “It ought to be the other way around.”

Both Ron Paul and Mitt Romney want to shrink the federal work force by 10 percent, or by cutting an additional 284,000 jobs. Under Romney’s plan, one federal employee would be hired for every two that retire, while Paul plans to eliminate five federal departments: Interior (70,000 employees), Commerce (56,800 employees), Energy (16,000 employees), Education (4,400 employees) and Housing and Urban Development (9,500 employees).

“I am absolutely convinced this is the only way to prosperity,” Paul said in October after he announced his economic plan. “If we want jobs, we have to get the government out of our way.”

About 65 percent of the population believes “big government” is the greatest threat to the country, a near record high, according to a December Gallup poll.  About 26 percent said big business and 8 percent said big labor were the greatest threat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Federal Government Pay Tops Businesses: CBO Report

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It pays to work for the government. Compared with private sector employees, federal workers are paid about 16 percent more when benefits including health insurance, retirement plans and paid vacation are taken into account, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office.

While wages are fairly equal, on average, between public and private employees, the benefit packages for government workers far outpace those of their counterparts in private businesses. Federal employee benefits cost about 48 percent more than benefits for private employees from 2005 to 2010, the CBO report shows.

“The differences in compensation, the issue is are you taking your compensation up front or are you taking it over your lifetime in terms of a better pension,” said Linda Barrington, managing director of our Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell University.

The federal government spent about $200 billion on employee salaries and benefits in fiscal year 2011, according to the CBO. And at a time when the federal deficit is set to exceed $1 trillion for the fourth year running, that taxpayer-funded compensation is a prime target for many budget-cutters.

Two GOP presidential candidates -- Mitt Romney and Ron Paul -- have vowed to shrink the federal workforce by 10 percent.

“Public servants shouldn’t get a better deal than the taxpayers they work for,” Romney said at the Americans for Prosperity conference in November. “The American people are increasingly working to support the government. It ought to be the other way around.”

Paul calls for the immediate elimination of five entire departments: Interior (70,000 employees), Commerce (56,800 employees), Energy (16,000 employees), Education (4,400 employees) and Housing and Urban Development (9,500 employees). Together these departments employed about 156,700 people in 2010, according to Census data.

Romney said he will chop the public payrolls through attrition, not layoffs.

But the size of the federal workforce is already shrinking. Public sector employment has decreased in 18 of the past 24 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while private sector employment has increased in all but two of those months.

“Shrinking federal government deficit by laying people off, that may be the right thing in long run but it is having a contractionary effect on the labor market,” Barrington said. “In the short run we need to acknowledge that it may be pushing the number in the wrong direction.”

From 2008 to 2010 the federal workforce, not counting postal employees, shrunk by 20,000 people, according to Census data.

Federal salaries, on the other hand, went up by nearly $4,000, on average, over the same time period, despite a federal pay freeze that’s been in place for the past two years.

One explanation for why federal workers are more expensive than their private sector counterparts is that they are often “older, more educated, and more concentrated in professional occupations,” CBO director Douglas Elmendorf wrote in a blog post explaining the study.

Government employees are, on average, about four years older than private employees. More than half of federal employees -- 51 percent -- have at least a bachelor’s degree compared with 31 percent of non-government workers.

People without a college degree are better off working for the government, while people with advanced degrees tend to make more in the private sector.

Public employees with at most a high school diploma earned, on average, $4 per hour more than comparable private sector employees.

Government workers with advanced degrees, like a graduate degree or Ph.D, on the other hand, earned about $15 per hour less working for the federal government than their counterparts in private businesses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ADP Report: 157,000 Private Sector Jobs Added in June

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Private sector employment jumped some 157,000 jobs last month, according to the ADP employment report released Thursday.

The increase is more than double the predicted 70,000 positions, and is expected to help Wall Street's trading. In the report's breakdown, the service sector gained 130,000 jobs, while the slowing manufacturing sector added 24,000 jobs.

The figures are a major improvement from the employment picture in May, in which reportedly just 36,000 jobs were added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Employers Add 54K Jobs in May; Unemployment Up to 9.1% 

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Unemployment ticked up in May to 9.1 percent as private employers added 54,000 jobs, far fewer than economists were expecting, capping a week of gloomy economic news.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the May unemployment figures Friday, and few were pleased given the string of negative economic reports.

Economists had expected more than 150,000 new jobs, and there was consensus that unemployment would edge down, not up. Nonfarm payrolls increased 54,000 last month, with private employment rising 83,000 -- the least since June. Government payrolls fell by 29,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Private Sector Added Only 38,000 Jobs in May

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ROSELAND, N.J.) -- Private businesses in the U.S. added only 38,000 jobs in May, falling short of what economists had expected and showing a slowdown in employment growth for the month, according to a report released Wednesday by ADP.

The ADP National Employment Report, which was developed in partnership with Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC, also noted a revision in the change of employment between March and April, finding that employment rose by 177,000, not 179,000 as previously reported.

"Although we continue to see jobs being added to the economy, this month's job figures show that employers believe we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to decisions on hiring," ADP President and CEO Gary C. Butler said.

Joel Prakken, Chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC, said the latest figures are not surprising given the slow growth of the country's gross domestic product.

"A deceleration in employment, while disappointing, is not entirely surprising.  In the first quarter, GDP grew at only a 1.8 percent rate and only about 2.25 percent over the last four quarters," Prakken said.  "This is below most economists' estimate of the economy's potential growth rate and normally would be associated with very weak growth of employment."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Payrolls Add 244,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Back at 9%

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The nation’s employers increased payrolls by 244,000 during the month of April, beating economists’ expectations, a government report showed Friday.

The private sector, which factors out government layoffs and hiring, saw 268,000 workers added to payrolls -- the best monthly jobs growth from the private sector since February 2006.

The nation’s unemployment rate jumped, however, from 8.8 to 9 percent.

"The reason you get that," said economist Hugh Johnson, "is even though you get a very strong increase in the number of jobs, you get a much bigger increase in the labor force," or the number of those who are actively pursuing work.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama on Jobs Report: 'Have to Keep the Momentum Going'

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(LANDOVER, Md.) -- President Obama says the new jobs numbers out Friday -- 230,000 new private jobs added to the economy -- represent good news, but not the end game.

“Although we got good news today, we have to keep the momentum going,” he told an audience at a UPS facility just outside of Washington D.C., where he was touting clean vehicle technology. “That makes 1.8 million private sector jobs created in last 13 months,” he said.

The new jobs number also led to a steep drop in the unemployment rate -- a full percentage point down in just four months.

“The last time that happened was during the recovery during 1984 where we saw such a significant drop in the unemployment rate,” Obama said.

But the president maintained that still isn’t enough.

“I know there’s a lot going on in the world right now so the news has been captured by the images of the Middle East and what’s happening,  the tragedy to our friends in Japan. And I’m focused on those issues but you should know that  keeping the economy going and making sure jobs are available is the first thing I thing about when I wake up in the morning, it’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed each night,”  he said.

“That’s what we’re focused on, that’s what we’re fighting for,” he said to applause.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Private Sector Grows by 201,000 Jobs in March

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(ROSELAND, N.J.) -- The U.S. private sector grew by 201,000 jobs in March, according to the latest national employment report released Wednesday by ADP.

ADP found that employment in the service-providing sector increased for a 15th consecutive month in March, rising by 164,000 jobs.  The goods-producing sector also saw an increase, growing by 37,000 for a fifth straight monthly gain.

The report also shows that employment in the manufacturing industry rose by 37,000 jobs, making March the sixth consecutive month that the industry grew.

"Today’s ADP National Employment Report confirms that U.S. private-sector employment growth has averaged about 175,000 jobs over the last six months," said Gary C. Butler, president and CEO of ADP.

When compared over the last four months, the average looks even more promising.

"The average monthly increase in employment over the last four months -- December through March -- has been 211,000, consistent with a gradual if uneven decline in the unemployment rate," said Joel Prakken, the chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC.  "This is almost three times the average monthly gain of 74,000 over the preceding four months of August through November."

Butler added that "job growth in the first quarter of 2011 has shown considerable improvement compared to the last quarter of 2010."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


State of Labor: Wisconsin Showdown Puts Unions Back in National Spotlight

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It's been nearly three weeks since the showdown began between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, and state Democratic lawmakers over a budget bill that would strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

Public employees have protested inside and around the state Capitol building in Madison, putting their cause squarely in the national spotlight and raising the profile of the labor movement to a level not been seen in decades.

The Wisconsin teachers' union and state workers unions have agreed to reductions in their benefits but only on the condition that they be allowed to keep their collective bargaining rights.

Walker has dug in his heels, saying the state fiscal situation is so dire that he has no room to negotiate.

But the standoff between Republican lawmakers and unions is not unique to Wisconsin. Similar fights are taking place -- or brewing -- in Indiana, Ohio and New Jersey, where governors have made it clear that they are looking to cut the benefits and wages of public sector employees as a solution to their massive budget deficits.

In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie -- in his campaign to reform education and bring the state's massive budget deficit under control -- has made his battle against the state teachers' union one of the signature elements in his stump speech.

In an extensive profile in the New York Times Magazine, reporter Matt Bai said Christie had found "the ideal adversary" in public sector unions.

"Ronald Reagan had his 'welfare queens,' Rudy Giuliani had his criminals and 'squeegee men,' and now Chris Christie has his sprawling and powerful public-sector unions — teachers, cops and firefighters who Christie says are driving up local taxes beyond what the citizenry can afford, while also demanding the kind of lifetime security that most private-sector workers have already lost," Bai wrote.

Given the divide between the two sides, and the battle for public opinion, union activists and labor historians say that the stakes are enormously high.

Joe McCartin, a history professor at Georgetown University and the director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, said what is happening in Wisconsin has "caught almost everyone by surprise.

"Certainly [it] has elicited a reaction unlike any in a generation around the defense of workers' rights, to collectively bargain," said McCartin.

But McCartin said that the labor movement had lost strength compared to a generation ago, a story told in the raw numbers.

According to a January report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership in 2010 was 11.9 percent of the American work force, down from 12.3 percent in 2009. The number of employees belonging to a union declined by 612,000, to 14.7 million.

Nearly 30 years ago, that percentage was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers. In the mid-20th century, 35 percent of the work force was in a union.

But Daniel DiSalvo, a political science professor at City College of New York who studies the U.S. labor movement, said the distinction between public- and private-sector unions is important when looking at the numbers.

While private-sector union membership has declined steadily, public union membership has remained strong. More than one-third of government workers (about 7.6 million of them) belong to a union, compared with 7 percent of private-sector workers (or 7.1 million), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Even with declining membership, the rise and increase in political power of public sector unions has helped stabilize ... the labor movement," DiSalvo said. "The heart and soul right now of the labor movement is public employees."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio