The Shift To The Part-Time Work Force

Discussion in 'Politics' started by pspr, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. pspr


    The shift to part-time work accelerated in February ahead of a key, midyear ObamaCare deadline, Gallup reported on Monday.

    Gallup's survey found that the percentage of part-time workers as a share of the overall labor force surged to 20.6%, the highest level in data going back to the start of 2010 — just as the employment recovery began.

    The report provides the most dramatic evidence yet of the impact the 2010 health law is now beginning to have on employers of modest-wage workers and — even more importantly — on their workers.

    It also suggests that relatively upbeat headline jobs data — both jobless claims and the upcoming February employment report on Friday — may be distorted by the underlying shift to part-time work.

    "Policymakers should not be misled by the surge in part-time jobs in early 2013," noted Gallup Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe. "The economic reality is that the U.S. job situation worsened in February."

    After the January jobs report, IBD noted that the retail and hospitality sectors added 55,600 jobs in the month, even as aggregate hours worked fell. In other words, more people logged fewer total hours, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

    The Gallup data are unadjusted for seasonal jobs shifts, so they're best compared to the same month in earlier years. In February 2010, just as the jobs recovery was getting underway, part-timers made up 19.1% of the labor force. In February 2012, part-timers were 19.5%, so the new reading constitutes a significant shift. But it is not a surprising one.

    Treasury Department guidelines released in January gave businesses until June 30 before their staffing levels begin to influence fines that may apply in 2014 when the ObamaCare exchanges launch.

    The law exempts companies with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees from providing health care coverage. Firms with at least 50 workers face fines based on the number of employees who receive ObamaCare subsidies, which are only available to people who lack affordable coverage from an employer.

    But those fines — up to $3,000 per ObamaCare subsidized worker — won't apply for part-time workers, which the law defines as 30 hours per week.

    An obvious strategy to minimize fines is to cut some workers to just below the 30-hour threshold. Staying below the 50-worker threshold also may be an option.

    A check of new Securities and Exchange Commission filings adds to the list of companies considering employment changes to limit the cost of complying with ObamaCare.

    "Our compliance ... may result in significant modifications to our employment and benefits policies and practices," The Wendy's Co. (WEN) said.

    It also warned that "modifications to our business practices may be disruptive to our operations and impact our ability to attract and retain personnel."

    Fiesta Restaurant Group (FRGI), which operates 251 restaurants in four states, said it is "reviewing our strategy for employing part-time vs. full-time employees" in managing compliance costs.

    O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY), an auto parts retailer, said it was evaluating "operational changes to minimize the impact of the legislation to our cost structure."

    As Washington considers action on raising the minimum wage, Jacobe said that full-time jobs were "certainly as important" on the policy agenda.

    "Part-time workers find it hard to live on their own, let alone support a family."
  2. Fiesta Restaurant Group (FRGI), which operates 251 restaurants in four states, said it is "reviewing our strategy for employing part-time vs. full-time employees" in managing compliance costs.


    It's too hard to calculate at the moment but while employers are reviewing part time vs full time costs so are the employee's. If Min wage gets to $9 an hour, the benefits and responsibilities of being full time worker just aren't worth it to the full time employee.

    If you add in the freebies for the min wage worker, energy assistance, food stamps and whatever other bones the Fed throws your way, it is very discouraging and ruins the moral of full time employment.