Tag Archives: graphs

Growth in Federal Government Employees Pales Next to State and Local

When people complain about how much government has grown, their harshest criticism usually is reserved for the federal government. In reality, the number of federal government employees hasn’t grown quickly at all, compared with state and local.

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of federal government employees has grown at an average annual rate of only 0.4 percent since 1955, from 2.3 million employees to 2.8 million.

Local government, on the other hand, has grown at a rate of 2.4 percent per year, from 3.5 million employees in 1955 to 14.1 million in August 2012. State government growth averaged 2.6 percent per year, from 1.1 million to 5 million.

Of course, number of government employees isn’t the only way to measure government, and using other measures might yield different conclusions. But numbers of employees hardly suggests out-of-control growth of federal government.

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Consumer Confidence Up 9 Points in September

Consumer Confidence was up 9 points in September, increasing from 61.3 in August to 70.3, according to the Conference Board. This is a positive sign for the economy, indicating that consumers are feeling more optimistic about their current employment and financial situations, suggesting that they will be more likely to spend money in the future.

Consumers also were more optimistic about the near-term future, with more than 18 percent expecting things to improve over the next six months. Less than 14 percent expect business conditions to worsen during that period.

Here’s a graph of the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence index from 2000 through September 2012. The index fell substantially from a peak of 111.9 in July 2007, down to 25.3 in February 2009. Since then it has gradually trended upward, except for a downward spike in 2011.