The scandal of part-time America

Mort Zuckerman, writing in the Wall Street Journal, notes the deceptive nature of the hype surrounding the June jobs report showing the addition of 288,000 jobs. In reality, full time jobs decreased by 523,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — a shocking number that is obscured, but hardly offset, by the addition of 800,000 part time jobs.

Following the release of the June report, President Obama proclaimed, “Make no mistake; we are headed in the right direction.” But how can that be, when only 47.7 percent of U.S. adults are working full time?

It can’t be. Janet Yellen, head of the Fed, acknowledged as much in March. “The existence of such a large pool of partly employed workers is a sign that labor conditions are worse than indicated by the unemployment rate,” Yellen stated. And the unemployment rate itself is still far too high.

Zuckerman, a liberal but also an entrepreneur, finds that Obamacare has played a significant role in the inability of our economy to generate a satisfactory number of full time jobs:

[T]here is one clear political contribution to the dismal jobs trend. Many employers’ cut workers’ hours to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide health insurance to anyone working 30 hours a week or more.

The unintended consequence of President Obama’s “signature legislation?” Fewer full time workers. In many cases, two people are working the same number of hours that one had previously worked.

Or are hoping to.

In sum, says Zuckerman, “we are not in the middle of a recovery; we are in the middle of a muddle-through.”

The causes are slow growth and the perverse incentives of Obamacare. And the slow growth is itself attributable in part to the many other perverse, job-killing policies and regulations of the Obama administration.

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