Charting America's Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society, Following 6 Straight Months Of Full Time Job Declines

Tyler Durden's picture

It is surprising that over the past several years very little has been said in the popular media about the fact that America is slowly (but surely) transforming from a full-time to part-time employed society. And while much has been said about the temporary and now past impact of census hiring, and government jobs on the workforce, there are still few mentions in mainstream media that since the depression started in December 2007, America has lost 10.5 million full time jobs, offset by a 2.8 million increase in part time jobs. Two recent mentions of this extremely troubling phenomenon were those by David Stockman, who characterized the recent unjustified economic (and naturally market) euphoria in terms that could have come straight from David Rosenberg's mouth, and, more recently, Van Hoisington. And since the Teleprompter in Chief has now made it a monthly pilgirmage to extol the NFP number no matter how manipulated by Birth-Death and seasonal adjustments, perhaps next time someone can ask him why the US not only lost 478k seasonally adjusted full time workers in November but has lost full time jobs for 6 months in a row, for a total of 1.6 million job losses! And since it is now clear that Americans only watch cartoons when it
comes to financial reporting, and, at worst, demand a chart, here is,
straight from the BLS' table A-9, the historical change of the US labor force.

And here is the sequential change in both full and part-time jobs. Note that after peaking in April and May, full time jobs have declined for 6 straight months:

In a nutshell: in December 2007 there were 121.7 million full time jobs, while 24.8 million Americans were part-time workers for economic reasons; fast forward to November 2010 where we find that 111.1 million employees are now full time, while the rank of the part-times have increased to 27.6 million. And it is not rocket science, that converting a population to part-time workers has a disastrous impact on wealth. As Stockman presented previously, discussing part-time employment "with an average wage of $20,000 a year, that is not a breadwinning job, you can't support a family on that, you can't save on that. Those jobs will not generate income that will become self-feeding into spending." Yet more and more people are forced to work part-time, even as full time working Americans are now at their lowest since February 2010. But for some odd reason the market remains transfixed that 39k very much adjusted and completely unrealistic people may have found a job on private payrolls in November, even as full time jobs dropped by 478k.

We can only hope that now that it has been charted for them, some of the less than captured MSM outlets will take this information and present it to the broader public which, when watching CNBC or tracking the S&P may get the impression that things are actually improving in the USSA.

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tony bonn's picture

not only is obama america's prime turd and greatest liar, he is a quack of an economist....


LawsofPhysics's picture

America's problems began long before Obama came along.  This is what you get when you let corporate greed run wild and send a bunch of "academics" in to solve the problem.

DaveyJones's picture

academics became corporate prostitution like the rest of them and what idiot is junking anyone who admits the problems are bigger than one more whore? 

midtowng's picture

Obama wasn't president in December 2007, or December 2008. This was a creation decades in the making.

SheepDog-One's picture

Yes it really is ALL about kicking the can either forward in time, or back in time...the PRESENT is never relevant! Very convenient for the belly button gazing cowards, its always someone elses fault.

High Plains Drifter's picture

The Afghan war and the Iraqi wars were both planned long before they were started also. 911 was not the real reason why we invaded either of those countries. It was just some convenient excuse, like someone said one time, a pivot point. Also if you will notice the so-called Patriot Act was lying around gathering dust, having been written long ago, and when the time was right, they dragged it out of hybernation and whola, guess who voted it in?  We have many traitors that must be dealt with in a most harsh manner, this I know.

New_Meat's picture

... er ... Clint:

"The Afghan war and the Iraqi wars were both planned long before they were started..."

There are a thousand "wars" (campaigns) planned within the five-sided puzzle palace.  That's their fricken jobs, after all.  We're watching 5027 with the FDOs and etc. in action as we speak.

Pop Quiz: Who was the proponent of the nascent "Patriot Act", who had it in his drawer?

- Ned

samseau's picture

Obama has made things 10x worse

prophet's picture

I think you ascribe too much potential to the position.  No doubt, its been disappointing to say the least.  I wonder if the other side of that is that by tackling (in a most ugly way for sure) the biggest long term fiscal threat to the country there is bound to be much short term pain.  

If the housing/mortgage fix ever sees the light of day I think we may clear the last of the near term hurdles and see a melt up.



unky's picture

I guess the first chart should say "in thousands" instead of "in millions"

Cleanclog's picture

In essence, we have to start taxing "robots", that have created great efficiencies and reduced labor positions.  Then we'll just give those displaced workers a new job.  We'll give them money and tell them that consuming is their job now.  Multiplier effect, everything fixed in time.

Joe Davola's picture



-not that I want one

Mentaliusanything's picture

But get one you will.

It is the last grasp at a straw.

It will be grasped.

Joe Davola's picture

My reticence toward the VAT is all the shenanigans that will go into determining what constitutes VA and who will get exemptions.

redpill's picture

Not possible, I was watching CNBC earlier and they only had good news to report.  There must be some kind of mistake.

Sudden Debt's picture

you see those 4 colored buttons on your remote?


I guess you pressed the blue one


Str8Gain's picture

I presume they're meant to be taken orally? :-)

High Plains Drifter's picture

At least Mandy was on this morning. :)

Sudden Debt's picture

My favorite to :)

Just press the mute button and watch those tits jiggle :)

flacon's picture

Part-time work is good for Keynesians who believe they can cause prosperity by raising the minimum wage - by fiat. Dollars for everyone - because it is a human right!

New_Meat's picture

I was raised on "sticky wages" thing.  Until I actually had to work and hire people.  Then, well, not so much. - Ned

suteibu's picture

For all who like to make comparisons with where the US is headed and Japan, their 5.1% unemployment rate hides a 34% rate of less than full-time workers.

Bam_Man's picture

I was about to make the same observation, but you beat me to it.

According to the figures quoted above, part-timers are approximately 20% of the US labor force.

In terms of bubble economy collapse, Japan has at least a 15-year head start on us. But I would confidently bet that we get to (and well beyond) a 34% part-time ratio long before 2023.



suteibu's picture

Still, they will never catch Japan who continues to move in the wrong direction.

Mentaliusanything's picture

Want to bet a bottle of  Junmai Daiginjo sake, my manga friend.

Americans are not slow in competition. Proven in the past.

They will succeed in in winning this race (to the bottom)

TraderMark's picture

they have a term in Japan for those who are in this constant struggle

it is called the herbivore man

The 29-year-old laborer is one of a burgeoning class in Japan -- the working poor. The number of Japanese earning less than $19,610 a year surged 40 percent from 2002 to 2006, the latest data available, the government says. They now number more than 10 million.

In a country that boasts the world's longest-living population, where young women with Louis Vuitton bags crowd the sidewalks, Murasawa's is a voice of hopelessness and despair -- a voice increasingly heard in Japan.

"It is unprecedented to see such a widening income gap in Japan," said Yoshio Sasajima, economist at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. "Our society is definitely becoming a class society."

A key to the growth of the working poor has been the explosion in temporary employment agencies, which allow corporations to take on labor without having to pay benefits -- and then unload workers at will.

The spike in the number of the working poor is already taking a toll on Japanese society. More people are putting off marriage because of tight finances, exacerbating a declining fertility rate. Part-time workers unable to afford rent sleep in 24-hour Internet cafes to escape the streets. Some have stopped going to the doctor because they can't afford it.


Sound familiar?

Glad to see the mainstream economists (some of them) are picking on what some no name bloggers have been talking about for years.

LawsofPhysics's picture

finite planet, finite growth.  Who is really surprised by any of this?  At what point does any dominant economic model deal with this?  The laws of Nature (thermodynamics and Physics) will always win in the end.  Too bad Americans don't study these fields anymore.

SheepDog-One's picture

So the rumor that the FED has built a perpetual motion money machine is false?

Dr. Acula's picture

"finite planet, finite growth."

"finite growth" is a meaningless statement in economics, because there is no means to quantify growth. There is no means to compare or to sum the subjective valuations of different people or even that of the same person at different times. According to Ludwig von Mises's Human Action,

"The attempts to determine in money the wealth of a nation or of the whole of mankind are as childish as the mystic efforts to solve the riddles of the universe by worrying about the dimensions of the pyramid of Cheops... what is the meaning of the items in a statement of a nation’s total wealth? What is the meaning of the computation’s final result? What must be entered into it and what is to be left outside? Is it correct or not to enclose the “value” of the country’s climate and the people’s innate abilities and acquired skill? The businessman can convert his property into money, but a nation cannot."

"The laws of Nature (thermodynamics and Physics) will always win in the end."

Your statement is specious because there is a yawning chasm separating the sciences of physics and economics. Physics can place no limit on the subjective value of a beautiful piece of art, or an engaging piece of music, or a delicious piece of food.

Entrepeneurs seek to alleviate people's felt uneasiness and are ultimately concerned with money returned over money invested, not bureaucratically-favored contrivances such as energy returned over energy invested; or other irrelevant calculations involving physical quantities.


Bring the Gold's picture

Sure, thats great. Physics isn't economics, got it.

Ok so how do you deal with the fact that growth requires greater physical inputs? Increase efficiency? Some conucopian solution no doubt. The scientists will create something! The OP was pointing out that scientists are worried about real world limits. There isn't a solution to what he's pointing out that I've ever read in an economics book. Unless we're talking Malthusian options. I'm guessing the blue bloods are leaning more towards old Thomas M. more by the day.

Seems like we need to figure out how to work on a contracting system until we can hit some sort of dynamic equillibrium point. Of course it requires voluntary limitation of population expansion as well. Again how is this dealt with ethically without drawing upon the nightmares of eugenics past?

Dr. Acula's picture

"Ok so how do you deal with the fact that growth requires greater physical inputs?"

Not all economic growth requires greater physical inputs. For example, computers are physically much smaller and yet more powerful than they were in the past. Information like music can now be duplicated millions of times with virtually no physical presence, comprising mere electrons.

And if there is a dearth of physical inputs, say sunlight or food, that overwhelms mankind's ingenuity to cope, then one possible outcome is that people will die.

>Seems like we need

"We need" - a socialist's words.

>Again how is this dealt with ethically without drawing upon the nightmares of eugenics past?

I'm not sure what catastrophe you're worried about exactly. If it is overpopulation, note that in developed countries, people need children to help with agricultural labor much less, and reproduce much less often. I suspect people will colonize other moons and planets long before the inconceivably massive Earth is somehow overwhelmed.


trav7777's picture

Jevon's Paradox, bitch.

All you idiots with your efficiency shit...there are WAY MORE COMPUTERS NOW consuming WAY MORE megawatts!

Colonize other moons...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Which ones, genius?

but...but...MUSIC can be duplicated.  Yeah, um all those electrons require power.  I can't be expected to waste time explaining this to you any further.  With all the extra efficiency, it's AMAZING that oil consumption has increased and so has electrical power demand, eh?

Dr. Acula's picture


Yes, I would call that growth. Thanks for backing up my argument.


trav7777's picture

what is so nightmarish about eugenics?

MurderNeverWasLove's picture

There wouldn't be anything nightmarish about eugenics if the eugenicists would all just FUCK OFF and DIE.

RKDS's picture

It's not so much eugenics in and of itself as the people making the decisions.  The worthless boobs who will inevitably put us into a hole that something like eugenics is the only way out of will certainly not be among those written off as collateral damage.

Citxmech's picture

In nominal terms your correct - in real terms, you are very wrong.  In the world of actual physical transportation of real goods and the production of actual goods, depletion of the necesary raw inputs signify the potential for an economic/societal collapse.

  Classical economics says that innovation and creativity will manage transitions to new materials, but "creativity" cannot create real growth when we are confronted with collapsing EROEIs. 

Absent a scientific revolution in energy, our future will be characterized by a systemic contraction, rather than any kind of expansion [other than a hyperinflationary one, that is].

Sorry, physical limits win over economic fantasy.

Got shelter, water, & food?

Dr. Acula's picture

""creativity" cannot create real growth when we are confronted with collapsing EROEIs... Sorry, physical limits win over economic fantasy."

For one who knows only physics, EROEI itself is meaningless: because of the conservation of mass-energy, one must have a unit EROEI in all cases. (When I throw a ball in the air I invest energy to yield a ball with a greater potential energy and slightly warmer air - the resulting increases in energy precisely equal to the amount expended.)

It is ingenuous to reject the science of economics as "fantasy" and then say we are imperiled because of a concept that only has meaning in the framework of economics.

My point is simply that EROEI is no more important or valid in the science of economics than is TROTI - taste returned on taste invested - another contrived ratio that a winery operator might confront.

trav7777's picture

well, that just means that you're stupid, that's all.

Because EROI is critically important.  If you EXPECT or NEED that ball to return more energy coming down than going up, then you're fucked, aintcha?

See, without surplus power none of this shit you see blinking in front of your face right now would exist.

EROI matters in economics because surplus energy is what does all the doing. 

Dr. Acula's picture

You are speaking complete nonsense.


samsara's picture

Suppose I gave you 10 gallons of gas to you per day.  But,  I kept moving 1 mile away from you each day.   Pretty soon,  you would be using all the gas I was giving to you just to come and get the gas I am giving you.  

Then my friend it doesn't matter what the price is anymore, because it's irrelevent, and extraneous to the physics involved.



Dr. Acula's picture

>Pretty soon,  you would be using all the gas I was giving to you just to come and get the gas I am giving you.  

If no workaround (like an extensible tube) were possible, then the transactions with you will begin to generate financial losses and I will cease them. I need not consider EROEI at all in my entrepeneurial calculations.

In fact, if I pay attention to EROEI, I will err. Because I will be neglecting the wear-and-tear on my car and consumption of my time (spent driving) and I will end up dealing with you longer than I should have. More useful than EROEI would be the financial revenues divided by financial costs. And of course you know that (a/b) + (c/d) does not generally equal (a+c)/(b+d). EROEI is a contrived ratio of partial data and it conveys useless if not harmful and misleading information.

>Then my friend it doesn't matter what the price is anymore, because it's irrelevent

I'm not sure what you're trying to prove exactly. Human beings, as elements of the universe, are of course subjected to the laws of natural science. But laws of physics are only a part of one's planning. What about mathematics, chemistry and biology? One must consider the thoughts and plans of those around them. One must consider market prices and predicted future market conditions.

samsara's picture

If it takes you all the energy you get just to get it,  It's a no win situation.  Plain and simple.

If it takes you a barrel of oil to discover, drill and pump and transport that barrel of oil.... 

If you don't understand that,  Then stay in the field of Finance.

Drilling in 5000 feet of water then another 10,000 feet in rock,  well, the industry is almost there.

Now mention how bakken will save us.

DaveyJones's picture

EROEI is about the most unmeaningless concept we deal with. The doctorate is in what?

Dr. Acula's picture

>EROEI is about the most unmeaningless concept we deal with.

Why do you deal with it? I'm guessing it's for one of the following reasons:

1. You are subjected to the desires of an entrepeneur or manager, who is ultimately interested in financial profit and views EROEI as a good approximation for achieving the real objective (money), even though it is essentially a meaningless ratio of partial data (physical quantities) and not a meaningful ratio all relevant financial aspects to the problem.

2. Or, you are in some kind of academic or bureaucratic environment disconnected from production aimed at satisfying consumer's felt uneasiness.

I know successful farmers who have NO CLUE what EROEI is.

What is the EROEI of a potato? The return is the caloric energy yielded through digesting the potato. The investment is the energy expended on digging, maintaining, and harvesting the potato. Now, do potato farmers spend their time wringing their hands over optimizing EROEI? Or do they worry about other factors, like choice of land, potato prices, potato futures, crop rotation practices, kinds of potatoes, capital investments, etc.? Why is it that EROEI is not on their radar?

Could it possibly be because contrived ratios like EROEI have no general economic significance?


AnAnonymous's picture

For one who knows only physics, EROEI itself is meaningless: because of the conservation of mass-energy, one must have a unit EROEI in all cases. (When I throw a ball in the air I invest energy to yield a ball with a greater potential energy and slightly warmer air - the resulting increases in energy precisely equal to the amount expended.)


What do you mean for one who knows only physics? Mass-energy conservation? What do you mean exactly?

Reading you, I am under the impression that because of mass energy conservation, you somehow postulate the possibility of perpetual movement.

Mass energy conservation is one aspect of reality. The dispersion of energy is another one. And I cant imagine that one who knows only physics can ignore the second aspect.

So what do you mean exactly?

Dr. Acula's picture

"So what do you mean exactly?"

EROEI cannot be defined without defining what a "return" or "investment" is; these terms are provided meaning only in the framework of economics. Without economics you have merely EOE - energy over energy, i.e. unity - a rather useless metric.

EROEI is an element of the human sciences. It is foolhardy for those who have failed to learn the science of economics to speak of EROEI as if they know what they are talking about.

Plus, energy is not the only conserved quantity in physics. Where non-nuclear physics prevails, why not also worry about the number of atoms returned (AROAI) for each kind of chemical element? Like energy, some kinds of atoms are also very precious and rare. If it is EROEI that is worried about in a free market and not AROAI, then you can be sure monetary considerations are the primary motive.

AnAnonymous's picture

A rather worthless metric?

Dimensioning, scaling is based on the principle. Given the benefits this principle delivers, maybe indeed, it is once again a matter of defining worthless.


This useless metric yields a direct means of comparing two systems one with another as it is easily leads to measuring efficiency.

Claiming that efficiency does not matter in physics or mathematics, that is big.

So if this useless metric allows a mathematician to reduce  time required to performed the number of computations needed to solve a problem from beyond his life time to a couple of months, that is an economics concern and can not be a mathematical concern?