The Australian Bureau of Statistics has just released an update on the number of public servants. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/6248.0.55.002Main+Features12010-11?OpenDocument
According to the ABS, between June 2008 and June 2011, the number of Commonwealth public servants rose by 6.0% - from 237,100 to 251,400, a rise of 14,300. In Canberra, there were 80,400 public servants employed by the Commonwealth at end June 2011.
For the overall labour force data (taken from a different survey by the ABS), total employment over the same three-year time frame rose by 5.2% or 561,000. The slightly faster pace of employment growth in the Commonwealth public service could be linked to the start date – June 2008 – the middle of the GFC - which no doubt hit private sector employment more than the public sector. Either way, the difference between 2.0% average annual growth in public sector and 1.7% in the whole economy over that three-year timeframe is small beer.
While acknowledging the different surveys for employment numbers, it is reasonable to assess that the rise in Commonwealth public servants accounted for just 2.5% of the overall rise in employment; State and Local government employment accounted for a further 23.2% of jobs created over that time; meaning that the private sector accounted for around 74% of all jobs created over that time.
Not sure what it means exactly, other than at face value, the size of the Commonwealth public service is not growing at a materially different pace to employment in the rest of the economy.