Just over six years ago, in December of 2010, we wrote “Charting America’s Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society”, in which we predicted – and showed – that in light of the underlying changes resulting from the second great depression, whose full impacts remain masked by trillions in monetary stimulus and soon, perhaps fiscal, America is shifting from a traditional work force, one where the majority of new employment is retained on a full-time basis, to a “gig” economy, where workers are severely disenfranchised, and enjoy far less employment leverage, job stability and perks than their pre-crash peers. It also explains why despite the 4.5% unemployment rate, which the Fed has erroneously assumed is indicative of job market at “capacity”, wage growth not only refuses to materialize, but as we showed yesterday, the growth in real disposable personal income was the lowest since 2014.
A Part-Time Jobs Nation
When former President Barack Obama completed his eight-year reign, Harvard’s Lawrence Katz and Princeton’s Alan Krueger published a study that examined the labor market during this time. Obama likes to cite that 11 million new jobs were created in his tenure, but the research found a compelling revelation: These were not permanent, full-time positions.
According to the study, 94% of these jobs were part-time, contract, gig, or temporary. Traditional full-time employment – Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – gradually disappeared for every demographic.
Overall, there were one million fewer workers employed full-time than prior to the financial crisis.
That wasn’t the only report to highlight the putrid labor situation for the American people. Here are a few other statistics to show the Obama economy was not as good as he liked to pretend:
50% of people working part-time did so involuntarily.
The U.S. had the lowest job growth rate in 35 years (as of 2016).
The number of full-time breadwinner jobs were 1.7 million below the level in December 2007.
Real median household income dipped 2.3%.
The Labor Force Participation Rate fell to a 40-year low of 62.8%.
Because of this, the U.S. was given the distinction of a Part-Time Jobs Nation. But Americans would have been lucky if they found part-time employment from 2009 to 2017, since temporary, freelance, and independent “gigs” surged in the marketplace. The U.S. should have been rebranded the 1099 Economy.
The primary culprit for the spike in part-time employment? The Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise colloquially known as Obamacare.