Number of US Full-time Workers Stagnant, As Incomes Languish

Number of US Full-time Workers Stagnant, As Incomes Languish

December 15, 20129:41 AM MST



Number of Full Time Workers in US Stagnant Since 2001


St.Louis Federal Reserve

For the last few years, the White House and the mainstream media have routinely regaled the public with news about a recovering job market. The unemployment rate is dropping, and jobless claims have stabilized, they claim.


However, more rigorous analysis and data crunching by the Federal Reserve and academics reveal a distressing picture of a stagnantemployment market plagued by declining incomes and a dearth of full-time jobs.


According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the number of Americans fortunate enough to secure full-time employment has hit a wall. In 2001, roughly 114 million Americans held full-time jobs. By 2012, the number of full-timers has inched up to about 115 million, an increase of a mere one million workers.


The problem with this near zero-growth in full-time employment is that the US population has increased dramatically, from 282 million in 2001 to314 million by 2012.


In other words, over little more than a decade the population has grown by 34 million while the number of full-time workers has remained roughly the same!


These numbers are reflected in Gallup's recently-developed "Population to Payroll" index, which measures the percentage of over-18 Americans who work 30 hours or more per week. Gallup reports that only 43% of Americans over 18 years of age now hold full-time jobs!


The news on incomes is hardly more encouraging. According to data featured on Jim Quinn's informative blog The Burning Platform, 38 million Americans earn less than $10,000 per year, 50 million earn less than $15,000, and another 61 million earn less than $20,000 annually.


All told 100 million employees, or 2/3 of the entire US workforce, earn less than $40,000 per year!


Ironically, according to the New York Times, citizens suffering most in this economy, low- income workers, were more likely to vote for President Obama's re-election than were higher income workers. In essence, the millions stuck in low-wage marginal jobs overwhelmingly voted for a continuation of economic policies that by most objective standards have hardly helped improve their standard of living!


The economy will never produce large numbers of full-time, well-paying jobs as long as GDP continues to grow at an anemic 1%-2% per year. For the US to get back on the path to prosperity, the government must adopt a set of aggressively pro-growth policies, such as lessening the tax burden on consumers, reducing the regulatory stranglehold on business, and

most of all unleashing the productive power of the nation's oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power industries.


Such changes can only come when those suffering the most in this recessionary economy demand and work for real improvement in their current lives and their future prospects.

Gallup: Only 45% of Americans Over-18 Have Full Time Jobs!

Gallup: Only 45% of Americans Working Full time

Gallup Organization

October 19, 201210:35 PM MST

Almost daily the media outlets report to the American public numerous jobs measures, most generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which purport to describe the depth of the USunemployment crisis.


The public reads about the "headline unemployment number," which has been fluctuating between 8% and 10% since 2009.


The media might also mention another number, the "U6", which includes the unemployed and those working part-time but who want to work full time. According to this measure, 16%, or one out of six, Americans who want to work full-time are either unemployed or working in part-time jobs.


Yet, most members of the public realize that these numbers, however weak, still are not a true representation of the real-life struggle that they, their children, and their acquaintances encounter in finding, and keeping, a full-time job in today's stagnant economy.


The Gallup organization has developed a new metric, the Payroll To Population Index, which many believe more realistically captures the essence of the employment malaise in which Americans now finds themselves.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates unemployment and underemployment figures as a percentage of what many consider a very limited definition of "the workforce."

The BLS workforce definition includes only those between 18-64, and excludes many different groups, including all those who have given up looking for work. Moreover, many of the BLS unemployment measures count part-time workers, even those working one hour per week, as "employed," and include them in the "jobs created" numbers.


On the other hand, Gallup's Payroll to Population indicator measures the percentage of all Americans over 18 "who are employed by an employer for at least 30 hours per week." In other words, it only counts as "employed" those working full-time. The results are based on daily telephone interviews with approximately 30,000 adults.

What the new Gallup metric reveals is quite disturbing and certainly deserves the attention by policy makers and mainstream economists.




According to Gallup, only 45% of Americans over 18 years of age have full-time jobs!




Even if we assume that some of the 55% of Americans without full-time jobs--retirees, college students, the disabled, and stay-at-home parents--have voluntarily chosen to work part time or not at all, thePayroll to Population figure of only 45% is nevertheless an indication of a profound unemployment crisis.




As we approach 2013, Americans might find it even more difficult to find and retain full-time jobs. Morgan Stanley's proprietary Business Conditions Index, which measures top business leaders' perceptions of the direction of the overall economy, collapsed in October, to 41% from 55% in September. Driving down the numbers were the hiring index, which dropped 10 points to 44%, and the "hiring plans index" which declined 13 points to 44%.




These hiring and retention indices have not been this low since 2009, when the unemployment rate hovered around the 10% level.




The report said that companies are becoming anxious about America's brutally high debt levels and the dramatically higher taxes they expect will be levied on businesses to help pay down that debt.




Hence, companies will want to cut costs, and plan to do so primarily by reducing hiring and laying off employees, possibly as early as January 2013.




We might have just experienced an earliy indicator that US companies are shedding workers. In mid-October jobless claimsjumped by almost 50,000 in one week to nearly 400,000 new jobless.




As I have repeatedly pointed out in this column and in my books, there is only one solution to the growing threat of massive unemployment.. The US must aggressively pursue a broad-based pro- growth strategy, one that that includes ramping up our manufacturing base and revitalizing our energy production efforts.




By not adopting such expansionary growth policies, we condemn all Americans to a future in which chronically high unemployment shrinking wages become the "New Normal."






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