This article originally appeared on MarketWatch under the title Jobs numbers are far worse than they look.
I selected my title from a humorous comment on MarketWatch by reader "Homer Price" who writes "Mike, What are you doing ? Trying to spoil the GREAT EMPLOYMENT news. Just wait until next year when the Unaffordable Care Act kicks in. THE BEST IS YET TO COME ............................. "
There are other interesting comments as well. Inquiring minds may wish to take a look. Now for my article ...
Economists were surprised by the massive "beat" in today's reported job numbers. The unemployment rate dropped .2 to 7.7% and the economy allegedly added 236,000 jobs.
Is that what really happened? No not really.
According to the household survey (on which the unemployment rate is based) the economy added a healthy 170,000 jobs. However, a whopping 446,000 of those jobs were part-time jobs. Simply put, the economy shed 276,000 full-time jobs.
The BLS labeled those 446,000 part-time jobs as "voluntary". I am not so sure.
A Gallup Survey yesterday on Jobs show the percentage of workers working part time but wanting full-time work was 10.1% in February, an increase from 9.6% in January, and the highest rate measured since January 2012.
Gallup notes "Although fewer people are unemployed now than a year ago, they are not migrating to full-time jobs for an employer. In fact, fewer Americans are working full-time for an employer than were doing so a year ago, and more Americans are working part time. Although part-time work is clearly better than no work at all, these are not the types of good jobs that millions of Americans are still searching for."
Obamacare is in play. Recall that under Obamacare, the definition of full-time employment is 30 hours. The BLS cutoff is 34 hours. At 30 hours, companies have to pay medical benefits so t