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Although the numbers are still preliminary, the release earlier this month of the January U.S. jobs report provides an unusually good reason to check in on one of RealityChek‘s favorite sets of statistics – the ones that permit calculating the importance of what I call the subsidized private sector (those parts of the economy, notably healthcare services, that are typically considered part of the private sector, but that rely heavily on government spending for its performance in employment and other areas) in the American jobs creation picture.

This distinction matters because most Americans (rightly) believe that private sector employment and its strength or weakness is a much better measure of the economy’s overall health than public sector employment – which largely reflects the decisions of politicians. So if the private sector is being over-counted – which is clear from the failure of most analysts to draw this distinction – that’s big news, and this over-count has been a major feature of most discussions of the current economic recovery.

This latest data bring the story up to the first month of the new year. They include a second (though still preliminary) look at the December numbers (and consequently the full-year 2017 numbers). And they incorporate some revisions going back to the early part of last year. The bottom line is similar to that of RealityChek‘s last update: after surging during the middle part of the recovery, subsidized private sector job creation slowed markedly during the first year of the Trump administration. But another significant development comes through loud and clear, too: During Year One of Trump, growth in payrolls in the public sector proper has ground to a near halt.

First, the new subsidized private sector number, expressed as a share of total job creation for the last few years:

2013: 11.34 percent

2014: 15.97 percent

2015: 23.67 percent

2016: 24.77 percent

2017: 21.49 percent

For good measure, the figure for last month (which will be revised at least twice more): 19.00 percent.

On a standstill basis, here’s how the subsidized private sector’s share of total employment has looked looks at the onset of the last recession (at the end of 2007), at the start of the current recovery, and at the end last year:

December, 2007: 13.22 percent

June, 2009: 14.97 percent

December, 2017: 15.85 percent

For comparison’s sake, in December, 2016, the subsidized private sector’s share of total payrolls was 15.76 percent.

And this is where the dramatic slowdown in government hiring comes in. Here’s how the actual number of government jobs (at all levels) in the U.S. economy has changed annually in recent years:

2013: -57,000

2014: +129,000

2015: +151,000

2016: +206,000

2017: +18,000

Because government jobs are included in the economy-wide job total, much of the reason that the subsidized private’s share in American employment overall kept growing between 2016 and 2017 (from 15.76 percent to 15.85 percent, as shown above), was because the government share fell from 15.34 percent to 15.12 percent.

Yet because the numbers are so big in absolute terms, even this government hiring slowdown has only bent down slightly the growth curve of the subsidized private sector’s importance over the last year, not stopped it, much less thrown it into reverse. That becomes evident upon examining the subsidized private sector’s share of total employment at the start of the recession, the start of the recovery, and for every December starting with 2013:

December, 2007: 13.22 percent

June, 2009: 14.97 percent

December, 2013: 15.43 percent

December, 2014: 15.44 percent

December, 2015: 15.60 percent

December, 2016: 15.76 percent

December, 2017: 15.85 percent

So the type of good news/bad news story that’s been characteristic of many economic trends during the current recovery holds for the prominence of subsidized private sector employment, too. It’s hard to imagine that growth will return to a sound footing until and unless the hiring trends turn decisively in favor of the real private sector.