As the first country to mass produce everything from automobiles to computers, America has a well-deserved reputation for innovation, thanks to its manufacturing sector. U.S. government employees, conversely, are most adept at producing paperwork, as we’ve previously noted.
So which sector do you think employs more people in the U.S.—those who produce or those who bog down production with new regulations?
The answer—and it’s not even close—is that government employees outnumber employees working in manufacturing. In fact, as of a year ago, there were 21,995,000 government employees and 12,329,000 manufacturing employees. That’s 1.8 government employees for each manufacturing employee, or one employee to produce and nearly two employees to regulate.
Granted, not all government employees are regulators and many serve valuable roles … but is it healthy for the economy to have nearly twice as many employees working in government as we have working in manufacturing?
It didn’t used to be this way. Until August 1989, manufacturing employees outnumbered government employees. But that month, government employed 17,989,000 and manufacturing employed 17,964,000. The two sectors have been going in opposite directions ever since.