Since June 2023, Americans have been increasingly employed in part-time positions, with a subsequent decline in full-time work, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The number of Americans working part-time in January grew by 96,000 compared to the previous month, while full-time employment sank by 63,000, according to the BLS. The change in the types of employment follows a trend toward part-time employment that has been increasingly exacerbated since June 2023.
The number of part-time positions has grown from 26,248,000 in June 2023 to 27,890,000, equating to a more than 1.6 million increase, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED). Over that same time period, the number of workers employed full-time also dropped by over 1.6 million, from 134,787,000 to 133,133.
“Wherever possible, businesses are eliminating full-time jobs and replacing them with part-time jobs to reduce costs,” E.J. Antoni, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Many firms are also conducting ‘quiet’ layoffs, according to multiple surveys. This involves eliminating a full-time position when the occupant either quits or is fired — the person simply isn’t replaced. The drop in payrolls is the same as if you laid off those people. Meanwhile, the sectors that are still hiring are predominantly bringing on people part-time.”
January also saw a large increase in the number of workers who were employed part-time for economic reasons, meaning that they could either only find part-time work or business conditions led employers to reduce their hours, according to the BLS. January had 4,422,000 workers employed part-time for economic reasons, compared to 4,211,000 in December, an increase of 211,000.
“As the number of full-time workers falls and the number of part-time workers rises, the average hours worked drops — now at the lowest level since the Great Recession, outside of the COVID crash,” Antoni told the DCNF. “This doesn’t point to a robust economy or tight labor market, but systemic weakness. As soon as the debt-fueled spending binge by the government and consumers ends, the music stops and we’ll find out there are nowhere near enough chairs for everybody currently dancing.”
The average number of hours that employees worked per week declined to 34.1 in January, the lowest point since 2010 when the country was recovering from the Global Financial Crisis and the Great Recession, excluding a brief drop during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to FRED.
The federal debt exceeded $34 trillion for the first time ever just before the end of 2023, increasing from $33.17 trillion in the third quarter, equating to an over $800 billion deficit gain in just the fourth quarter. The U.S. gross domestic product only increased by $328.7 billion despite the increase in debt.
Will Kessler on February 2, 2024