America’s biggest industry: Government

A couple graphics at caught my eye:

National employment peaked in Dec 2007 at 138.2 million. As of Jan 2009, it’s 134.6 million.

The number of people employed by the government is 22.6 million.

Here’s a little trick I call math: 134.6 &#247 22.6 = 5.96

More than one out of six employed Americans working for the government. The economic activity of five Americans pays the salary (and benefits) of the sixth. We cannot afford so much government.


  1. Here’s some news: people are useless. Not just govt employees, but most people altogether. With single farmers able to produce so much food, and automation being massively efficient, MOST PEOPLE ARE USELESS. (This may well include me.) Unless you’re willing to let them starve, they’ve got to go somewhere. Whether jail, govt, or somewhere else, there’s room for, and need for, a lot of redistribution.

  2. Useless to whom? I see people as the center of meaning. Government is created to meet people’s needs, as are factories, restaurants, and blogs.

    The travesty I see is that people have become less free to pursue their self-interest. Our wealth is confiscated from us, and redistributed to whomever our central-planners deem worthy.

  3. The little trick you call math? You fail at it!

    Your graph shows that 1/6 of the employment growth over ten years was in government, **not** that 1/6th of the population is employed by the government.

  4. @ Terr — What are you talking about? You pull the total labor force and the total number of people working for government from these charts. Divide one by the other and you get exactly what I said you get.

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