Recent jobs data suggest that too many Americans are struggling to find full-time work. The October jobs report underscores the challenge facing many of those looking for full-time employment, noting that 8.3 million Americans were employed part time “for economic reasons” last month. As the report cites, “These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.”
That number is about to climb even higher as a new mandate in the Democrats’ health care law takes effect. Beginning in 2014, many employers will be mandated to either provide government-approved health insurance or pay a fine for each full-time equivalent employee (the health care law defines a full-time employee as anyone working more than 30 hours a week). According to key excerpts (below) from this morning’s Wall Street Journal, employers have responded to the mandate by replacing once full-time positions with part-time positions or increasing part-time employment.
- “Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week….The shift is one of the first significant steps by employers to avoid requirements under the health-care law…”
- “CKE Restaurants Inc., parent of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, began two months ago to hire part-time workers to replace full-time employees who left…”
- “Home retailer Anna’s Linens Inc. is considering cutting hours for some full-time employees to avoid the insurance mandate if the health-care law isn’t repealed…”
In 2010, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) famously claimed that passage of the health law would create up to 4 million jobs. Instead, America has seen the slowest jobs recovery ever and any net employment growth has been in part-time, not full-time jobs. Now, more than two years after the Democrats’ health care law was signed into law, we see that the promise of full-time work is about to get even further out of the grasp of Americans who need a job.
It’s tougher to find full-time work. It’s tougher for employers and employees to afford health insurance. It’s just plain tougher in an Obama economy.