Unemployment Drops to 5.1 Percent—For Government Workers; Lowest Among All Industries

September 7, 2012 - 11:08 AM

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. on Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(CNSNews.com) - There was good news for American workers in August—if government was their employer.

The unemployment rate for government wage and salaries workers dropped from 5.7 percent in July to 5.1 percent in August. At the same time, the number of government wage and salary workers counted as unemployed dropped by 123,000 people from 1,182,000 in July to 1,059,000 in August.

The overall national unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in August.

A year ago, in August 2011, there were 1,271,000 unemployed government wage and salary workers. So, the number of unemployed government workers has dropped by 212,000 since then.

The unemployment numbers for government workers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not seasonally adjusted.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts someone as a government wage and salary worker if they are not in the military and they are currently employed by any level of government—local, state or federal—or they are unemployed, they are looking for work, and their last job was for any level of government.

The 5.1 percent unemployment rate for government workers was the lowest unemployment rate for any of 17 different categories and subcategories of industries for which employment is tracked and published on a month-to-month basis by the Department of Labor. These include nonagricultural private wage and salary workers; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction workers; construction workers; manufacturing workers; durable goods manufacturing workers; nondurable goods manufacturing workers; wholesale and retail trade workers; transportation and utilities workers; information workers; financial activities workers; professional and business services workers; education and health services workers; leisure and hospitality workers; workers in other services; agricultural and related private wage and salary workers; and self-employed, unincorporated and unpaid family workers.

Answering questions from reporters on June 8, President Obama said that the private sector was “doing fine” and that the “weaknesses” in the economy were in government.

“The private sector is doing fine,” said Obama. “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 as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”