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Obamacare in Action: Retail Workweek Hits 3-Year Low

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Published : February 04th, 2013
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Category : Opinions and Analysis

Hooray! The economy is adding jobs (supposedly). However, few look at the quality of the jobs, and whether or not they are part-time.

Jed Graham has a nice post on Investor's Business Daily that describes what I have been saying for months: Obamacare has accelerated the trend towards part-time jobs. There are more jobs, but fewer hours in them.

Please consider Retail Workweek Hits 3-Year Low In ObamaCare Shift by Jed Graham.

The fly in the ointment of January's jobs report was the apparent shift to part-time work ahead of a key ObamaCare deadline.

Although retail payrolls grew by 32,600, total hours worked in the industry dipped, Labor Department data out Friday showed.

The explanation? Rank-and-file retail workers logged the shortest workweek since early 2010: just 30.1 hours, on average, vs. 30.4 in December.

Remarkably, aggregate hours worked in the retail sector fell below their January 2012 level, even though industry payrolls are up 200,000 over that period. A similar trend showed up in leisure and hospitality: January payrolls rose by 23,000 even as aggregate hours dipped 0.3%.
Not Unexpected

This Obamacare-sponsored shift toward part-time jobs is certainly not unexpected, at least in this corner.

Last Hurrah?

I challenge the notion the economy added 157,000 jobs last month. I also challenge 23,000 leisure and hospitality jobs, and I challenge the claim that retail payrolls grew by 32,600.

For three straight months the household survey is way out of line with the payroll survey. This past month the household survey showed a net gain of only 17,000 jobs (please see Last Hurrah for Jobs? for details)

Yes, many prior months were revised up. But where are we now, going forward?

If the economy really did add 157,000 jobs on the "strength" of part-time hiring, then this was the last hurrah. If not, then I expect those BLS revisions to be re-revised away and October or November was the last hurrah.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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Mish 13 abonnés
Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. He writes a global economics blog which has commentary 5-7 times a week. He also writes for the Daily Reckoning, Whiskey & Gunpowder, and has over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Visit
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