Part-Time Recovery

To hear the White House tell it, the recovery from the Great Recession is in full swing, with June’s unemployment report claiming nearly 300,000 new jobs created last month, the sixth straight month of job growth. Unfortunately, those jobs weren’t full-time in high industries. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time jobs decreased by 523,000 last month, while part-time jobs rose by 800,000.

The White House is no longer making a distinction between full-time and part-time jobs in its employment reports, and it’s easy to see why. Digging deeper into the numbers reveals that the so-called economic recovery is nothing of the kind. There are currently more than 28 million part-time workers in America, a quarter of them involuntary. In other words, more than seven million part-timers are taking whatever jobs they can get, often in low-wage industries. In some cases, two-income families are now logging the same number of hours that single-income families put in before the 2008 recession. These low-wage jobs now account for 44% of all labor growth since 2010.

The “Affordable” Care Act is largely to blame for this. Many businesses have cut back on positions and reduced new hires in order to stay below the 50-employee threshold set by the law’s employer mandate. IHT Staffing, a temp agency in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, maintains that 90% of their employers are hiring part-time as opposed to full-time specifically because of ObamaCare. And James Sherk, an economic analyst with The Heritage Foundation, says, “ObamaCare will further reduce hours by increasing the costs of hiring full-time employees while discouraging workers from working full-time.”

The part-time work force now includes a dangerously large portion of the prime working population. Total participation in the work force is at 62.8%, a 36-year low. This is unsustainable if the economy is ever expected to truly grow. With fewer workers making more than enough money to cover basic expenses, there will be less capital in the economy overall, meaning lower consumption of more than just basic necessities, less investment in new businesses and new technologies, and the slow painful conversion of America to a service-driven economy.

The economic policies of the Obama administration are to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” It’s working. The stimulus was a bust economically but increased government spending permanently. The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing has arguably kept the economy from plunging into depression, but it caused inflation to run rampant with life’s necessities. The White House continues to paper over this record by trumpeting numbers that are deliberately misrepresenting the real economic picture. But you don’t have to be an economist to figure this out. If the economy is doing so well, then why are you and so many of your friends and neighbors struggling to make ends meet?

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