The fastest growing industry in America will surprise (and depress) you

Hint: it’s not one that’s particularly productive. 

The economy is finally on the rebound, even though Americans haven’t recovered from crushing inflation and real wages are still down since President Biden took office.

But one industry in particular is roaring and growing: the government.

As the fiscally conservative Committee to Unleash Prosperity notes, during the first half of 2023 the various levels of government added 380,000 jobs to their payroll, more than any other industry. And it’s not particularly close. Next up is the hospitality/leisure sector, then healthcare (which is heavily funded by the government), then business services, and so on. As the Committee notes, the government added more jobs than “mining, manufacturing, construction, wholesale, and transportation combined.”

Writing for the New York Post, Steve Moore and Vivek Ramaswamy raise an important question: “With the federal government running a $2 trillion annual deficit, and with the COVID crisis long behind us, shouldn’t we be systematically downsizing?”

This is a key point. Generally speaking, the government is the only industry on this list that doesn’t have to attract customers. It can just take as much money from us, the taxpayers, as it wants. (It’s also the only industry that can run a loss year after year yet keep growing.) That allows it to—if left unchecked—grow and grow at our expense even while failing tremendously at everything from preventing fraud to stopping crime.

But all the resources spent expanding the government are, directly or indirectly, resources not spent expanding the private sector. You know, the part of our economy that actually produces the things we need, rather than just putting up red tape.

With how out of control our federal, state, and local governments have grown, it’s not actually that surprising that they’re adding jobs faster than any productive industry. Yet it’s still a serious problem if we want to have a growing economy and a free society.

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Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo is a libertarian-conservative journalist and co-founder of Based Politics. His work has been cited by top lawmakers such as Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Pat Toomey, Congresswoman Nancy Mace, Congressman Thomas Massie, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, as well as by prominent media personalities such as Jordan Peterson, Sean Hannity, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, and Mark Levin. Brad has also testified before the US Senate, appeared on Fox News and Fox Business, and written for publications such as USA Today, National Review, Newsweek, and the Daily Beast. He hosts the Breaking Boundaries podcast and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.