Political  Calculations

During the December 2007-June 2009 recession, the number of jobs at the margins of the U.S. economy increased significantly through the period of major job loss ending in December 2009, even though total employment and the number of Americans employed by non-farm establishments fell.

Here, even though total employment in the U.S. declined by 8.7 million and the portion of the U.S. civilian labor force employed at non-farm establishments fell by 8.6 million, the number of Americans counted as being employed outside of non-farm establishments increased by 8.8 million. Those kinds of jobs, which include farm work, self-employment, private household workers, and people who work in family businesses who are not paid for their labor, represent employment at the margins of the U.S. economy.

Because that was such a unusual outcome, we thought it would be worthwhile to consider another kind of marginalization where jobs are concerned - the transition from full to part time employment.

Our first chart shows how the number of people employed in full and part time jobs changed in the period from January 2006 through July 2014.

U.S. Seasonally Adjusted Employment Levels, Full and Part Time Employment, January 2006 - July 2014

In the chart, we see that full time employment peaked in November 2007 at 121,875,000, before declining 11,316,000 through December 2009, the end of the major period of job loss during the recession. That figure has since increased by 7,930,000 to 118,489,000 through July 2014.

Meanwhile, part time employment started off the recession at 24,758,000, but instead of decreasing as jobs disappeared from the U.S. economy, the number of Americans employed part time increased by 2,721,000 through December 2009.

But that's not all, even after the recovery began, the number of part time jobs continued to increase to peak of 28,184,000 in July 2013, before finally stalling out. Through July 2014, the number of Americans employed part time is still highly elevated at 28,070,000.

On the whole, the total increase in part time employment from November 2007, which marks the peak of total employment in the U.S. prior to the recession, to July 2014 is 3,312,000.

Political Calculations

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