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White House: Public Sector Won't Fuel Economic Recovery

By Ed O'Keefe

There was an interesting exchange this afternoon during the daily White House press briefing, as Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked a series of questions about economic stimulus proposals and job creation. The Eye's colleague Michael D. Shear asked Gibbs if any new public-sector jobs will mean as much as new private-sector job creation.

SHEAR: Robert, I wonder if the president thinks that all jobs are created equal. And by that, I mean you talked a lot about public- sector jobs, police officers, teachers. If at the end of the day a lot of public-sector jobs are created on the public dole as opposed to private-sector jobs, is that -- is that OK?
GIBBS: Well, first of all, I believe that, if the latest statistics -- based on the economic reports -- show that 90 percent of these jobs are private-sector jobs. No doubt there are public-sector jobs, whether it's police officers or teachers, that are important to our long-term economic growth, that actions that we take or don't take will have a negative impact on whether or not those jobs continue.
But, obviously -- and you saw last week with the CEOs that met with the president that -- or small-business owners -- those are the jobs that are going to fuel an economic recovery, not -- not public-sector jobs.

President Obama's proposed economic stimulus package would create or save 3 to 4 million jobs, 90 percent of them in the private sector. Most of the estimated 244,000 government jobs created by the stimulus would be at the state and local levels.

Gibbs' comments come on the same day the AP moved a story noting that the federal government continues to fill jobs amid the national economic downturn. Economists fear that public sector layoffs would make the nation's economic condition even worse.

Check back tomorrow for a Look at some government agencies that could use the extra hires.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 2, 2009; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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