Part time work and second jobs increasing while full time work disappearing

A remarkable look inside the employment numbers from yesterday that saw the official unemployment rate drop from 7.9% to 7.7%.

From Market Watch:

According to the household survey (on which the unemployment rate is based), the economy added a healthy 170,000 jobs. The survey also shows a tremendous increase of 446,000 part-time jobs. 

What this means is that the economy actually shed 276,000 full-time jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics labeled those 446,000 part-time jobs as "voluntary," but I am not so sure.

A Gallup survey on jobs released Thursday shows the percentage of workers working part time but wanting full-time work was 10.1% in February, an increase from 9.6% in January and the highest rate measured since January 2012.

Gallup notes "Although fewer people are unemployed now than a year ago, they are not migrating to full-time jobs for an employer. In fact, fewer Americans are working full-time for an employer than were doing so a year ago, and more Americans are working part time.

Although part-time work is clearly better than no work at all, these are not the types of good jobs that millions of Americans are still searching for. 


Obamacare is in play. Recall that under Obamacare, the definition of full-time employment is 30 hours. The BLS cutoff is 34 hours. At 30 hours, companies gave to pay medical benefits so they have been slashing the number of hours people work. This reduced the number of hours people worked and provided an incentive for many to take on an extra job.

We can see the effect in actual BLS data.

After declining for years, the percentage of those working two or more jobs is again on the rise.

In the past month there was a surge of 679,000 in the number of people working multiple jobs. The seasonally-adjusted increase was 340,000. (Emphasis mine)

James Pethokoukis of AIE has an even gloomier assessment:

2. The labor force participation rate fell again as potential workers stopped looking for work. If the LFP rate was just where it was a year ago, in February 2012, the official unemployment rate would 8.3%. And if the LFP rate was where it was in January 2009, the unemployment rate would be 10.8%. Does the the aging of the US workforce make that 2009 number less relevant? Probably. But have demographics changed that radically over the past 12 months? Doubtful.

3. The February U-6 number, the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment, was down a tick to 14.3%. This probably gives a better feel for the real state of the labor market.

4. During the past three months, the economy has added an average of 191,000 jobs. At that pace, according to the Jobs Gap calculator from the Hamilton Project, it would take 101 months to return to pre-Great Recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month. Oh, and that calculation assumes no recessions between now and late 2021.

With Wall Street at an all time high and businesses enjoying large profits, it is idiotic to say that the employment situation is the result of the financial meltdown and housing crash. These numbers - especially the part time and second job numbers - are a direct result of the policies of this president.

But it is doubtful that the ordinary American will ever realize it.