Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Norwegian Parliamentary Election 2013: The Number of General Government Employees Surged during the 2005-2012 period

Jens Stoltenberg, the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party, has been prime minister since October 2005. Here are a couple of facts related to his financial track record which keen voters and real economists might find interesting.

Under his leadership, government spending for mainland Norway (which excludes loan transactions and Government Pension Fund Global/oil and gas in Norway) increased by a total of NOK 413.345 billion, or 63.6%, during the almost 8 years he's been prime minister (2013 is based on budgeted numbers from the government).

During his time in office, the number of people employed by the general government increased from 708,800 in 2005 to 804,000 in 2012 according to Statistics Norway (see table here). This represents a total increase in government employees of 95,200, or 13.43%, for the said period. This percentage increase is the largest for any seven year period since the period ending 1998. It's worth noting that the headcount is growing significantly this year as well. As of 30th June the number had jumped to 813,500, a further increase of 9,500 in just six months (see table here).


Furthermore, of that 95,200 increase in general government employees, more than 21,400 (22.5% of the total) were employed in public administration. As a result, 157,900 people worked in public administration in 2012 compared to 136,500 in 2005 - a total increase of 15.7%. As of 30th June this year, this number had increased to 161,000, a further increase of 3,100 employees.

The number of government employees therefore partly, but only partly, explains how a country with such a high overall tax burden still manages to run the mainland economy with such massive fiscal deficits (see the link above). At the same time, even as Norway is among the richest countries in the world and runs with massive fiscal deficits for the mainland, the country' citizens are on average debt slaves (see also an excellent post written in Norwegian here).

Part of the country's vast income from oil and natural gas reserves is used to finance the running costs for mainland Norway.

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