MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While local, state and the federal government continue to enact austerity on their workers; the latest new from Gallup showed job creation is at its highest level since before President Barack Obama took office.

According to Gallup’s April Job Creation Index, 36 percent of workers nationwide said their employers are hiring workers and expanding the size of their workforce. Sixteen percent said their employers continue to fire people and reduce the workforce.

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The 36 percent hiring figure is the highest since August 2008, just before the Great Recession exploded when the housing bubble and the stock market blew up. The 16 percent who said their companies were reducing the workforce is the lowest since July 2008.

Regionally, the South was the best area for net private job creation, while the Northeast was the worst.

Republicans continue to call President Obama a big government president, but the numbers from Gallup don’t back up the argument. While private workers reported better levels of hiring, the government workforce continued to contract at all levels.

Job creation in all areas of government has been negative since late 2011. The biggest loser in job creation has been at the federal level, according to Gallup.

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The problem has now become how to keep private sector job hiring at a sufficient level to offset the high levels of unemployment coming from the government.

Gallup said that the combined large-scale contraction of the government workforce and the current private sector hiring is keeping the overall economy stuck in neutral.

In the past, governments hired people during deep economic downturns to spur the consumer spending which drives the economy.

However, the Great Recession saw things take a much different turn in 2010 when the tea party rode to power in the House of Representatives and insisted on European style austerity cuts to avoid problems in the future with the national debt.

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In Europe, the Herbert Hoover-ideal of austerity in the face of economic downturn has yielded slumps that have nearly taken out the entire European zone.