The Obamacare jobs report: sudden spike in ‘involuntary part-time workers’

Unlike the media True Believers, I cannot cheer a four-year low in unemployment that is

  • far above the predicted level of unemployment if Congress hadn’t passed Obama’s failure of a “stimulus” in 2009
  • statistically helped by the fact that so many potential workers have abandoned the labor force — if the labor force participation rate was at the same level now as it was when the stimulus passed in 2009, unemployment would be in the double digits at 10.9 percent
  • reflective of a snail’s pace of economic growth, thanks to leadership in Washington determined to continue burdening the economy and the job creators unnecessarily, such that it would take close to eight years at this pace for unemployment to return to its pre-recession level (not counting the labor force participation rate)

Here is a troubling insight on the new jobs report:

While the American economy added 293,000 jobs last month, according to the separate household survey, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons — “involuntary part-time workers” as the Labor Department calls them – increased by almost as much, to 278,000 to 7.9 million. These folks were working part time because a) their hours had been cut back or b) they were unable to find a full-time job. At the same time, the U-6 unemployment rate — a broader measure of joblessness that includes discouraged workers and part-timers who want a full-time gig – rose from 13.8% to 13.9%.

Let’s see, more part timers and fewer hours worked. Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin says what we’re all thinking:”This is not good news as it reflects the reliance on part-time work. … the decline in hours and rise of part-time work is troubling in light of anecdotal reports of the impact of the Affordable Care Act.”

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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