Federal Regulatory Jobs Outpace Private Sector

I just heard Cass Sunstein speak on Obama’s attempt to trim unnecessary rules and reduce the burden on the private sector. Yet here’s a fact: over the past year, employment at federal regulatory agencies has grown by more than 5%. By comparison, private sector jobs only rose by about 1.5% over the same period. That suggests regulatory intensity is still rising, even as the recovery lags.

A few details of the calculation are below the fold.

Calculations: Federal regulatory employment was based on data from the Office of Personnel Management.The agencies include: Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Consumer Product Safety Commission; Employment Standards Administration; Environmental Protection Agency; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Communications Commission; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Federal Trade Commission; Food and Drug Administration; Food Safety and Inspection Service; National Labor Relations Board; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Occupational Safety and Health Administration; Comptroller of the Currency; Patent and Trademark Office; Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; Securities and Exchange Commission. (Over the past year, the Employment Standards Administration started reporting employment data under its four separate subdivisions, so the number of agencies was 18 in March 2010 and 21 in March 2011). I left out the TSA –adding it in would have bumped up the number a bit). The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau does not yet show up separately in the March 2010 data. The number for total federal government employment comes from the BLS, using their adjustment for temporary census workers.

About Michael Mandel 127 Articles

Michael Mandel was BusinessWeek's chief economist from 1989-2009, where he helped direct the magazine's coverage of the domestic and global economies.

Since joining BusinessWeek in 1989, he has received multiple awards for his work, including being honored as one of the 100 top U.S. business journalists of the 20th century for his coverage of the New Economy. In 2006 Mandel was named "Best Economic Journalist" by the World Leadership Forum.

Mandel is the author of several books, including Rational Exuberance, The Coming Internet Depression, and The High Risk Society.

Mandel holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

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1 Comment on Federal Regulatory Jobs Outpace Private Sector

  1. 5% of what? How many extra jobs does that 5% rise equate to? 5% of 1000 is 50 extra jobs whereas 1.5% of 10,000 is 150.

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