Disappointing Jobs Numbers and Not Enough Teachers

Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics employment situation report showed the economy added a disappointing 142,000 jobs in September, bringing average monthly job creation to 198,000 in 2015—a rate slower than 2014. Hope for upward revisions to the low August numbers were dashed as well. In fact, July and August’s numbers were revised downward by a combined 59,000 fewer jobs. Digging into the report, we see that the civilian labor force participation rate declined, the employment-to-population ratio for prime age workers has continued to stagnate, (sitting at 77.2 percent—where it was when the year started), and wage growth is stuck at 2.2 percent. Taken together, these are signs of a labor market that retains a fair amount of slack and evidence that the Federal Reserve was right not to raise interest rates in September and indeed should not raise them in 2015.

With the September data in hand, we can look at the number of teachers who are starting work or going back to school this year. The number of teachers and education staff fell dramatically during the recession, and has failed to get anywhere near its prerecession level, let alone the level that would be required to keep up with an expanding student population. Along with the dismal shortfall in public sector employment, due to the Great Recession and the ensuing austerity at all levels of government, public education jobs are still 236,000 less than they were seven years ago. The number of teachers rose by 41,700 over the last year. While this is clearly a positive sign, adding in the number of public education jobs that should have been created just to keep up with enrollment, we are currently experiencing a 410,000 job shortfall  in public education. Short sighted austerity measures have a measurable impact, hitting children in today’s classrooms.

The teacher gap

Teacher employment and the number of jobs needed to keep up with enrollment, 2003–2015

Number of jobs Jobs needed to keep up with student enrollment
2003-01-01 7697400
2003-02-01 7697400
2003-03-01 7691200
2003-04-01 7698500
2003-05-01 7695000
2003-06-01 7731500
2003-07-01 7779100
2003-08-01 7725200
2003-09-01 7667500
2003-10-01 7716500
2003-11-01 7702500
2003-12-01 7703100
2004-01-01 7712000
2004-02-01 7719900
2004-03-01 7748300
2004-04-01 7753800
2004-05-01 7776700
2004-06-01 7760700
2004-07-01 7757500
2004-08-01 7766900
2004-09-01 7774300
2004-10-01 7782800
2004-11-01 7797500
2004-12-01 7803200
2005-01-01 7821900
2005-02-01 7831100
2005-03-01 7820900
2005-04-01 7829400
2005-05-01 7840200
2005-06-01 7818800
2005-07-01 7904700
2005-08-01 7907300
2005-09-01 7878700
2005-10-01 7864600
2005-11-01 7875600
2005-12-01 7883000
2006-01-01 7882200
2006-02-01 7886900
2006-03-01 7890600
2006-04-01 7896100
2006-05-01 7883900
2006-06-01 7867800
2006-07-01 7899900
2006-08-01 7935200
2006-09-01 7972600
2006-10-01 7950200
2006-11-01 7954500
2006-12-01 7956800
2007-01-01 7959800
2007-02-01 7953300
2007-03-01 7956300
2007-04-01 7965400
2007-05-01 7974300
2007-06-01 7964600
2007-07-01 7945700
2007-08-01 7991800
2007-09-01 8008600
2007-10-01 8023000
2007-11-01 8034400
2007-12-01 8054700
2008-01-01 8053500
2008-02-01 8064700
2008-03-01 8067900
2008-04-01 8062000
2008-05-01 8078100
2008-06-01 8086200
2008-07-01 8119400
2008-08-01 8091900
2008-09-01 8085300 8085300 8085300
2008-10-01 8089800 8087354
2008-11-01 8082800 8089408
2008-12-01 8083600 8091463
2009-01-01 8084000 8093519
2009-02-01 8096700 8095575
2009-03-01 8093700 8097631
2009-04-01 8091600 8099689
2009-05-01 8088200 8101746
2009-06-01 8108400 8103804
2009-07-01 8066700 8105863
2009-08-01 8061900 8107922
2009-09-01 8012300 8109982
2009-10-01 8073700 8112042
2009-11-01 8099100 8114103
2009-12-01 8071600 8116164
2010-01-01 8068500 8118226
2010-02-01 8057000 8120288
2010-03-01 8058000 8122351
2010-04-01 8056300 8124414
2010-05-01 8062400 8126478
2010-06-01 8048600 8128542
2010-07-01 8026300 8130607
2010-08-01 7997100 8132673
2010-09-01 7919200 8134739
2010-10-01 7963700 8136805
2010-11-01 7961500 8138872
2010-12-01 7953500 8140940
2011-01-01 7948000 8143008
2011-02-01 7930300 8145076
2011-03-01 7927500 8147146
2011-04-01 7939600 8149215
2011-05-01 7897600 8151285
2011-06-01 7925400 8153356
2011-07-01 7866900 8155427
2011-08-01 7845400 8157499
2011-09-01 7793600 8159571
2011-10-01 7829100 8161644
2011-11-01 7815800 8163718
2011-12-01 7807900 8165791
2012-01-01 7801400 8167866
2012-02-01 7805000 8169941
2012-03-01 7796400 8172016
2012-04-01 7773900 8174092
2012-05-01 7772000 8176169
2012-06-01 7740800 8178246
2012-07-01 7774700 8180323
2012-08-01 7794400 8182401
2012-09-01 7764400 8184480
2012-10-01 7757600 8186559
2012-11-01 7751900 8188639
2012-12-01 7774300 8190719
2013-01-01 7775600 8192800
2013-02-01 7776800 8194881
2013-03-01 7773600 8196963
2013-04-01 7758800 8199045
2013-05-01 7773400 8201128
2013-06-01 7737300 8203211
2013-07-01 7763800 8205295
2013-08-01 7801400 8207379
2013-09-01 7777800 8209464
2013-10-01 7776800 8211550
2013-11-01 7779000 8213636
2013-12-01 7763700 8215722
2014-01-01 7765000 8217809
2014-02-01 7765400 8219897
2014-03-01 7769000 8221985
2014-04-01 7781900 8224074
2014-05-01 7774200 8226163
2014-06-01 7786500 8228253
2014-07-01 7799200 8230343
2014-08-01 7804500 8232434
2014-09-01 7807600 8234525
2014-10-01 7799500 8236617
2014-11-01 7797400 8238709
2014-12-01 7796700 8240802
2015-01-01 7797200 8242896
2015-02-01 7791400 8244990
2015-03-01 7790200 8247084
2015-04-01 7784600 8249179
2015-05-01 7789200 8251275
2015-06-01 7810600 8253371
2015-07-01 7829000 8255467
2015-08-01 7849300 8257565
2015-09-01  7849300 8259662 8085300

 

ChartData Download data

The data below can be saved or copied directly into Excel.

Source: EPI analysis of Current Employment Statistics public data series and U.S. Department of Education (2014)

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  • Asterix

    I’d like to see a similar chart that describes the situation with school administrators.

    • dajobr

      yea in my kids school when they had a funding crisis, all they did was fire teachers, no one else

      • mamasnothappy1

        It’s a concentrated effort to get our kids in a nice trade school loan at 30% interest for the rest of their lives.

  • benleet

    Between 1950 and 1955 there were about 20 million births in the U.S., and since that time, every five years, there have been between 20 and 22 million births. Therefore, the prime working age population, between 25 and 54, is not increasing in size. It’s about the same number as in 2007. About 20 million age out, and 20 million age in every five years, they pass their 25th birthday or they pass their 55th birthday. But the employment to population has fallen. We have recovered about 44% of the drop from 2007. For about 20 years, 1988 to 2007, the E/P ratio was around 80%, now it is around 77%. That’s about 3.5 million workers who are not employed, who would be. Compared to the E/P of 2000, it’s about 4 million unemployed. It would cost a net of about $30,000 to employ each jobless worker, and $120 billion for all 4 million. The Progressive Caucus calls for a $350 billion per year program for each of the next 3 years. Bernie Sanders proposed in January, 2015, with Sen. Mikulski, a $1 trillion over five year program, or $200 billion per year. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce thinks “infrastructure will pay dividends for future generations,” says the Sanders web page. Do we have $200 billion or $120 billion a year for this? The 1% were earning 7% of national income in 1979, now they are up to 16% post-taxes and transfers (in 2011 according to the CBO report). One percent of national income is about $140 billion. So the income of the top 1% of households has increased by about 9 times $140 billion since 35 years ago. Call it $1.2 trillion more post-tax income. What are they doing with all that income? Not much. They are not hiring. They are not raising pay.

    • mamasnothappy1

      And that is why the rich get richer as the poor get poorer.

  • Mino

    Wonder what the respective states would show. Zero in Kansas?

  • mamasnothappy1

    There has been a decades long attack on the public school system in this country. I saw it begin to erode in the 60’s when the highway systems cut up big cities and caused a redistribution of the student population. A total lack of civic and history lessons began to erode the teachings of the past. When people began to stop talking of the World Wars and Korea and began talking about Viet Nam. Our well educated kids began to rebel against the war mongering and a slow and insidious group (ALEC) began to invade our work spaces, schools and politics. Now, they have rid our country of most of our credentialed journalists and replaced them with talking boobs and caused many teachers to leave due to the low pay and large classes that is collapsing our education system. So, they now built lots of ‘for profits’ to continue NOT EDUCATING OUT CHILDREN. Using ?TEACHERS? for low pay??? And we wonder why our kids don’t know that ‘forced immigration’ in the 1800’s meant we enslaved people from foreign countries?