From Under Obama, a Record Decline in Government Jobs by Floyd Norris at the Economix blog at the NYT:
When Barack Obama ran for president four years ago, he appalled some Democrats by saying Ronald Reagan had been a transformational president.
Three years into his presidency, he has exceeded Reagan in one area: reductions in government jobs.
Over all — including a decline of 12,000 public sector jobs in the Labor Department report for December — government employment is down 2.6 percent over the last three years, compared to a decline of 2.2 percent in the early Reagan years. That is a record.
That record, which will seem a dubious distinction to public-sector employees, is largely a result not of federal policy but of shrinking state governments. [. . .] Education jobs at the local level are down 3 percent under Mr. Obama, compared to 2.1 percent in the early Reagan years.
About two weeks ago, I posted about the cuts to education in Georgia. Those cuts and others in local and state governments would have been much deeper without federal stimulus spending.
The uncomfortable truth is that government typically expands, making it a source of net job creation. If you look here at what has happened to public and private sector payrolls and what Calculated Risk is forecasting for 2012, you can see the drag created by government job losses.