The numbers on full- and part-time work

Date posted: November 25, 2013

Are too many of the jobs being created today part-time? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains what the data tell us.

“Well, let’s look at what we saw last year, 2012, in terms of job development. We had 1.6 million jobs created nationwide in our economy; 300,000 of those were classified as part-time. That gives you a rate of 19 percent, which is actually about average over the last few years.

“In fact, it’s somewhat down from the 20 percent we saw during the recession. So the numbers don’t suggest, at least right now, that we’re seeing an explosion of part-time work, relatively speaking.

“Now, some say the new health-care law is going to encourage part-time work. Now traditionally we define part-time work as those jobs where … hours are under 35 a week. The health-care law … has a cutoff of 30 hours a week. That is, if you have an employee working less than 30 hours a week, you don’t need to buy them insurance. So if the healthcare law was beginning to cause employers to perhaps reduce people from full- to part-time, we probably would have seen a big increase in the portion of workers working between 30 and 35 hours a week. Right now, we have not yet seen that. So I think, still, the jury is out on what the impact is going to be in the health-care law on part-time work.”

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