Well, lets see, April’s employment numbers are out and lo and behold the economy is on the move. Unemployment is all the way down to 7.5%, time to celebrate! Send the DOW to 15,000, shoot the S&P through the roof, everything is going to be peachy. This is fantastic news, the recession must be over. WOW. GO pres GO! America is SAVED!!! But wait, I am going to dampen your silver lining here with the dark clouds of reality for just a moment.
You hear all about how the economy is coming back, it’s all good, the recession is over…Do you remember six years ago under GWB? Remember all the media about how we were entering a recession, the economy was falling apart, etc? You do? Great. Tell me then, what was the highest unemployment rate under GWB? Just guess. You’re wrong. The highest rate of unemployment under GWB was in his last full month in office in December of 2008. That rate was 7.3%. For most of his presidency the rate hovered in between 4.5% and 4.9%, historically low numbers and yet the economy was seemingly foundering under his leadership if you believed the press. But really was there anything wrong with the economy then, is there nothing wrong with the economy now? Let me tell you something else. The unemployment rate for April may have shrunk to 7.5% but the U6 number, used to track the underemployed, rose to 13.9%. Yup, many people may have found jobs, but the only thing out there is part-time work.
In fact, when it comes to numbers we added over 293,000 jobs to the economy, which is freaking fabulous when considering we need 150,000 per month to keep with the growth of the work force. But the problem is 273,000 of those jobs were part-time. So we created jobs, not careers, we have a fries with that economy. That’s right, we are now a part-time economy, where the jobs people can get limit them to less than 30 hours a week. There are over 89 million people out of the work force currently, a number that is 9.5 million people higher than it was just five years ago, but because those people aren’t collecting unemployment and aren’t seeking a job they don’t count in either the unemployment numbers or the U6. But the jobs people do have are only part-time.
Long Beach, Ca just announced they were cutting the hours of 1600 employees to 27 hours or less a week to keep from purchasing Obamacare which would run upwards of two million dollars they don’t have to spend. There are many examples of municipal governments, small businesses, and yes even colleges and universities that are cutting many of their employees hours to under 30 a week to keep from bearing the crushing burden and “absolute train wreck” that is coming with Obamacare.
Part time jobs are becoming the new norm as companies cut hours to save on health care costs and other companies hire other workers at part-time wages to fill those gaps. Cutting positions and downsizing to maximize your productivity to output is one thing, becoming a part-time economy is another. Every one working for part-time wages in a full-time world will only continue to sap the purchasing power of America…and that is the legacy of these economic policies.