Why is unemployment so high? According to Barack Obama, the jobless rate has skyrocketed due to one particularly hard-hit sector:

“The reason the unemployment rate is still as high as it is, in part, is because there have been huge layoffs of government workers at the federal level, at the state level, at the local level,” he said. “Teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers– they have really taken it in the chin over the last several months. And so, what we’re trying to do is to see if we can stabilize the budget.”

Er, they have? The Porkulus bill supposedly “saved or created” those jobs. Jim Geraghty looks at the numbers and calls shenanigans:

Now, let’s look at total government employment (at all levels) for those four months:

June 2007: 22,176,000.

January 2009: 22,471,000.

January 2010: 22,376,000.

April 2011: 22,594,000 (preliminary).

Using seasonal adjustments, it’s only slightly different:

June 2007: 22,218,000.

January 2009: 22,582,000.

January 2010: 22,488,000.

April 2011: 22,166,000 (preliminary).

Even in the second set of numbers, the difference is minimal — around 316,000 off from the peak. We have 12.3 million unemployed people age 20 or older. The laid-off public workers only amount to 2.4% of the unemployed. The difference in the public sector is less than the average week’s initial jobless claims.

Doesn’t anyone do research in the White House?

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!