How many unemployed teachers are there?

This bit from Bruce Yandle challenges the conventional wisdom:

As to hiring teachers, total employment in local government education is already up by one million workers since August 2010. Teacher employment in state government nationwide is up 300,000 workers. The unemployment rate in education and health services at 6.3% is one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates. While the president implied that teachers were being cut from payrolls at a heavy pace, the data say otherwise. The president’s efforts are seen as misguided if the goal is to ease some of the pain in high unemployment sectors.

Here is another source:

As Figure 1 shows, state government education employment is up by 2.1 percent since the start of the recession while all other state government employment is down 1.9 percent — a substantially larger decline than in other parts of the state-local sector. State government non-education employment began falling less than a year into the recession, and fell below its pre-recession level about a year and a half after the start of the recession.

Do you wish to see more, including on local government education employment?

This BLS graph (look under “And which industries show declining employment over the summer?”) shows a strong seasonal trend which may confound some month-specific citations, but still the number seems to be back to where it had been in earlier years (admittedly the scaling and visuals are not what I would wish for) and more importantly it is hard to spot much effect of the recession at all:

So what exactly is the case here for stimulus of this sector?  Is this really a sector to target?  I would gladly see and consider alternate numbers and interpretations, but so far I file this under: “Yet another example of something the press should have reported about a President’s speech but didn’t.”  Once again, it is the disaggregated demand which matters.


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