David Weigel listens to Senator McConnell so we don’t have to:
"Unemployment among government workers is about 4.5 percent," said McConnell. "Most of those government workers work for state and local government. The federal government over the last two years has added 100,000 employees. The only industry in America that's not sacrificing in this current downturn is government employees. I can't tell you some federal worker won't be affected by reducing government spending, but we have largely insulated the federal government from this recession."
I looked at the government employment data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it is true that most of those working for the government work for state and local government. As our table shows, total government employment during February 2011 was 22.217 million (down from 22.582 million as of January 2009) whereas Federal employment was only 2.856 million (up from 2.792 million as of January 2009). Federal employment grew by only 64,000 which was more than offset by the fall in state government employment. Local government employment fell by 352,000 and total government employment fell by 365,000. Not exactly consistent with the message that the Senator was trying to convey.