Part-Time Work Responsible for Job Growth

July 21, 2014

While the June jobs report has been touted as a success, creating 288,000 new jobs, the number is misleading, explains Mortimer Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report. In fact, the United States lost 523,000 full-time jobs in June. What it gained was 800,000 part-time jobs.

The government numbers make no distinction between full-time and part-time job gains, so the Obama administration has bragged about the 288,000 figure, despite the fact that part-time jobs offer lower pay, little if any benefits and little job security compared to full-time work. The move to part-time work is in large part a product of the Affordable Care Act, which encourages employers to cut working hours.

Less than half (47.7 percent) of American adults are working full time today, and while the unemployment rate has fallen, the drop is due to the fact that 2.4 million Americans have simply dropped out of the labor force. The unemployment rate, Zuckerman notes, would be zero if everyone quit looking for work -- hardly an indication that the economy is strong.

The economic "recovery" since the recession has been incredibly weak:

  • One million positions in high-wage industries have been lost since 2007.
  • Today, low-wage jobs comprise 44 percent of all job growth since February 2010.
  • More than 3 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed.
  • The labor force participation rate is at 62.8 percent today, a 36-year low and down from 2008's rate of 66 percent.
  • The U.S. population has grown by 17.2 million since the middle of 2007, yet it has 374,000 fewer jobs since the November 2007 peak.
  • A record-high 91 million Americans over the age of 16 are not working today.

Growth in today's recovery is half of what it was after the United States' previous four recessions, says Zuckerman.

Source: Mortimer Zuckerman, "The Full-Time Scandal of Part-Time America," Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2014.

 

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