The most recent jobs report had a “robust” 195,000 new positions created last month as the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent. Hallelujah!
Unfortunately, the problem that has stunted any green shoots in jobs recovery persisted in June and shows no signs of abating.
The problem continues to be that a huge swath of the jobs being created are part-time or temporary.
Is a job really a job if it’s only for a few weeks, or if workers have to show up every morning to see if there is temporary work that day? Should one part-time job be counted the same as a full-time position?
Well, at the Labor Department the answer to those questions is yes, which is why the headline numbers look good despite a continued surge in underemployment.
Underemployment is when people are working fewer hours than they would like to, and that number rocketed from 13.8 percent of the work force in May to 14.3 percent last month.
Little wonder: The monthly payroll survey shows that just 130,000 full-time jobs have been added so far this year, versus 557,000 part-time positions.
Meantime, at least 2.7 million Americans work a temporary job. With 12 million Americans officially unemployed, 8 million involuntarily working part-time and 2.7 million juggling temp positions, a fifth-grade math student could tell you that more than 20 million of us don’t have a job in the traditional understanding of the term.
No wonder Wall Street didn’t know what to make of the employment numbers on Friday, with the major indices swinging wildly into both negative and positive territory.
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Terry Keenan’s article published this article in the New York Post.