America's Transition To A Part-Time Worker Society Accelerates As Part-Time Jobs Hit Record

Tyler Durden's picture


Back in December 2010 Zero Hedge was the first to point out what is easily the most troubling characteristic within America's evaporating labor force: its gradual transition to a part-time worker society. We elaborated on this back in February when we noted that the quality assessment of US jobs indicates that this most disturbing trend is accelerating. Finally, yesterday, the BLS' latest jobs report confirmed that our concerns have been valid all along: as of May, part-time jobs just as disclosed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics hit an all time high, over 28 million! These are people who traditionally have zero job benefits, including healthcare and retirement, and which according to the BLS "work less than 35 hours per week." In other words, as little as one hour per week of "work" is enough to classify one a part-time worker. More disturbing: the increase in part-time jobs in May compared to April: 618,000, or the fifth highest on record. It gets better: when added with the 508,000 increase in part-time jobs in April, this is the largest two month increase in part time-jobs in history. Which means of course that full time jobs in May must have declined: sure enough, at a -266,000 drop in full time jobs, the quality composition of the NFP report was just abysmal and makes any reported "increase" in those employed into a sad farce.

Part-time jobs:


Full-time jobs:


And the punchline: Part-time vs Full-time jobs:

Source: BLS

The chart above hardly needs further clarification: since the December 2007 start of the depression, full time jobs have declined by 6.9 million while part-time jobs have increased by 3.1 million.


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Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:13 | 2487549 lolmao500
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Just like Germany... Germans are forced, by law, to work a maximum of 35 hours a week. Won't be long before that comes to America... part time work... forced by law...

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:38 | 2487602 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Uh, I know plenty of Germans who work more than 35 hours per week and get paid for it.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:51 | 2487625 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

They're not living in Germany if they are.  I have had people need to call me back from their home office because they couldn't be in their factory office after official work hours.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 16:17 | 2487663 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

A quick word about Germany and its future.

They will be vassals of Russia within 2 years.  Germany is shutting down all its nuke power plants and will be hugely dependent on Russia for the replacement nat gas required.

Russia will wait until the nukes are sufficiently dismantled to be past the point of no return and then simply instruct Germany in policy choices.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 16:33 | 2487704 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

Much to the delight of Gerhard Schroeder.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 16:48 | 2487720 Cast Iron Skillet
Cast Iron Skillet's picture

There was an article in a German newspaper the other day that photovoltaic installations in Germany recently produced a record 22,000 Megawatts (roughly the equivalent fo 22 nuclear power plants) of electric power. Germany also has coal and wind power plants, and it purchases electricity as needed from France.

I don't think Germans are going to become the vassals of anyone.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 17:21 | 2487785 toady
toady's picture


I was lumping the Germans in with the rest of Northern Europe, saying they would be at the Mercy of Russia for heat in the winter, but a little research showed your comments.

The rest of Northern and Eastern Europe is another story...

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 18:42 | 2487906 montana1978
montana1978's picture

It looks like Germany will be taking over Europe again after the EU collapses.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 10:05 | 2488912 uhb
uhb's picture

We lost the wars , but we just might win the peace ;) !

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 17:22 | 2487786 StormShadow
StormShadow's picture

Just wait, the Russians will load their rplanes and make chemtrails to alter the weather to produce hail to smash the solar panels ;)

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 10:22 | 2488941 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

I don't think Germans are going to become the vassals of anyone.

The way they could become of Russia is if Russia becomes a vassal to the US and the US transfers vasselage of Germany from the US to Russia.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 10:40 | 2488965 Overfed
Overfed's picture

To rely on power generation that is dependent on the weather is the height of stupidty.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 13:15 | 2489325 rayduh4life
rayduh4life's picture

Ever hear of hydro electric? 

Mon, 06/04/2012 - 14:55 | 2492939 miszczuk
miszczuk's picture

Yes. Ever calculated the necessary area for this? When you finished this task then please consider that it took around 15 years before the new train station in Stuttgart/Germany could be build.

Mon, 06/04/2012 - 14:46 | 2492904 miszczuk
miszczuk's picture

This was during a bright summer day, the avarage power within a year is around 1500 MW. As long there is no way to store the energy in an efficient manner photovoltaic and wind power are great ways to waste ressources and shovel money into the pockets of they so called environmentalists. The consumer will pay for this lunacy 55 billion € in the next 25 years for photovoltaic alone. It get's 10 years for the owner of a company which produces windmills to become a billionaire - all the money coming from the consumers paying for something they will get cheaper without the benefit of green energy.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 17:12 | 2487771 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Well, I guess that's a business opportunity for... er, IG Farben.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 20:58 | 2488076 potlatch
potlatch's picture

you rock dude.  but you are forgetting: the Black Forest.  These have for centuries been set aside as emergency fuel reserves.  These reserves are designed and maintained to provide just enough fuel for the Fatherland until every angry German kid in the world zombie marches and face eats his way to Moscow or Moscow realizes the foolishness of its ways, which ever comes first. 


Sat, 06/02/2012 - 16:21 | 2487676 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Uh, I've seen plenty of German offices lit up and occupied as late as midnight, and people were actually making phone calls, but some places do shut off heat and lights after a certain hour. Really, folks, you should check your facts before making these sweeping generalisations.

Tariff workers do occasionally work overtime, but get paid overtime, so it is generally frowned upon both for cost purposes as well as labour relations, since booking too many overtime hours makes the Unions' case for more workers to be added. Non-Tariff workers and Leitender (management) might have official office hours, but many of them work well in excess of 35 hours per week, in most cases if they feel like having a career.

France, on the other hand, did have legally mandated 35 hour work week, which was even extended to management. I know plenty of French managers who still worked more than 35 hours in a given week, who made up for it by taking comp days at some other point in the year, though the comp days still went unused.

You do what you have to do.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 16:39 | 2487713 Cast Iron Skillet
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I work as a manager in a German office every day. My contract requires a 40 hr work week. Some of the others in the group have a 37.5 hr work week, but that is in no way a mandatory maximum, it's more of a minimum. Most work overtime as required by the job.

The German labor LAW (rather than the union tariff agreement) is not that tight. It calls for 10-hour maximum work days with 14 hours of rest between work periods, and a maximum of 6-day work weeks. Exceptions to these maximums (to allow workers to work MORE, not less) can be made under special circumstances.

The tariff agreements that many companies have with the unions are generally much more restrictive.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 22:39 | 2488285 johnnynaps
johnnynaps's picture

Damn, I knew that living in Germany would have been nice 12 years ago. Meanwhile, I was raped here in the states with 70 hour workweeks. Free......ha.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 01:46 | 2488546 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

And watch Temps do the job and leave when it's done at 10 AM leaving you to ride the clock.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 20:17 | 2488018 GOSPLAN HERO
GOSPLAN HERO's picture


Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:47 | 2487616 timbo_em
timbo_em's picture

35h/week forced by law? Are you referring to the mid 90s? A lot has changed since then. Today, labour agreements are far more flexible. And it was never forced by law. By law labour agreements are up to the unions and the employer associations.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:51 | 2487628 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



America 2 day:  Full-Time Part-Time until Half-Time.  Then it's Bud-Time.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 17:44 | 2487823 Michael
Michael's picture

Just watch this shit if you want to know everything that is fucking wrong with our country and the rest of the fucking world.

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Sat, 06/02/2012 - 20:39 | 2488046 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

More likely the reversal of trend. Working 80 hours a week for a piece of bread. Good luck feeding your family.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 01:48 | 2488548 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

I tell you what.

9 to 5 only for everything except Mission Critical Facilities and Hospitals.

Yes that means Taco Bell closes at 6 PM every day. Not stay open until 3 am.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 21:05 | 2488086 potlatch
potlatch's picture

your reasoning is unsound. For a fee, I can advise.  Cash only, USD only.  Limited time offer; will barter for food thereafter.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 21:26 | 2488122 Landrew
Landrew's picture

You are so clueless it's hard to know where to start or if you could even understand. It's about wages moron! Wages went up hours went down. More employment. You should really get  out of your mothers basement now and then and see how the world lives.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:17 | 2487557 RmcAZ
RmcAZ's picture

But more part time jobs mean that more full time jobs are coming soon, right? Bullish.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 17:52 | 2487832 jekyll island
jekyll island's picture

Obama gave an executive order that all part time jobs should pay $200/hr. 

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 01:12 | 2488504 potlatch
potlatch's picture

Robin Williams just called me into his office and kept repeating "You're gonna get a job. You're gonna get a job," then we had a moment, now I feel hopeful

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:17 | 2487558 yabyum
yabyum's picture

Part time work no benefits, no future. Welcome to America. The people who bitch about unions the most, need them the most.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:32 | 2487588 LasVegasDave
LasVegasDave's picture

Your Unions are one of the main causes of the problem, friendo

Why risk being held hostage to parasitic unions (and Obama care, mandatory pensions, unemployment/workers comp, etc.. ) when you can

a. outsource

b. hire temps

c. use part timers

See a problem, thank a union

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:41 | 2487605 JR
JR's picture

It’s called “crony socialism.”

‘…pension benefits for Wisconsin public employees are roughly 4.5 times more valuable than private sector levels while health benefits are about twice as generous as those paid by larger private sector Wisconsin employers. This difference results in a combined salary-benefits compensation premium of around 22 percent for state workers over private sector workers, with varying but often larger pay advantages for local government employees. ‘

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 15:54 | 2487636 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture

But given those figures--the reason why there's disparity between public and private has less to do with unions (which have been losing power since the 1970s) and much more to do with "a system that threw everyone overboard 30 fuckin years ago..."

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 16:24 | 2487690 Sluggo91
Sluggo91's picture

Unions in the private sector have been declining for decades but there is still a very prominent union presence in the public sector (teachers, fire fighters, etc.)  Explain how California can sustain a system where firefighters are retiring at 50 with $125k/yr pensions until they die?  Can't be done.  Don't disagree with Mr Carlin about the system.  But public sector unions seem quite content to stick it to the rest of us in order to keep their benefits and pensions.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 16:33 | 2487705 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture

I don't think anyone can sustain pensions like that, and I don't disagree with that point. But on the other hand, those are not the most common pensions in the public sector. For example, State employees average around $2100.00 a month, and they had to pay into that for 20 years to get it (almost all the big firefighter/police pensions are negotiated and paid at the local level, since fire and police are local hires--and some of those deals have been pretty generous--too generous in some places.)

Given all that, it's not out of the question to question the pensions. Something has to change, otherwise we're going to see more cities and counties go bankrupt. Just need to keep in mind not all public pensions are the same--and I think it was a huge mistake to let local gov'ts enroll their employees in CalPERS. That fund should have been for state employees only.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 16:39 | 2487714 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

I knew I should have majored in garbage collecting in college...

7 years... Down the drain!

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 18:20 | 2487873 Ranger4564
Ranger4564's picture

Fail.  Sanitation Engineer, please. 

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 21:08 | 2488090 potlatch
potlatch's picture

Street beautician.  Civil cosmetology school degree required, MA minimum, Ph.D preferred.  Inquire at desk.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 01:49 | 2488552 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

We used to have those come up pushing a barrel on wheels along the curb with broom and dustpan.

Every morning 7 am without fail.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 22:42 | 2488291 stocktivity
stocktivity's picture

There are no more garbage collectors in the US. Now they are called garbage technicians. Every job is a "technician"...even minimum wage fast food employees. It just sounds better to the part time work force with no hope.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 01:16 | 2488506 potlatch
potlatch's picture

If they thought that, someday, they could retire to a nice modest cottage in the woods, they would gladly work as garbage collectors.  It's not the lack of future in the job that is killing us, because bus drivers and such have been around forever: it's the growing feeling that, there is no payoff, and eventually, I will get too old, and I will have nothing.


A cottage.  A lake.  Maybe a little fishing boat.  Are you kidding me?


That is all 99% of the citizenry want "at the end of the day."  That's not hope; that's just called not fucking workers up the ass.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 01:51 | 2488554 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Need a 50K boat, 40K trailer, 60K SUV and about 70K of Garage and 30K of dock to keep it all.

You can conserve money buy a house boat and keep a Fortwo on the public ramp.

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 11:33 | 2489085 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Every job is a "technician"...even minimum wage fast food employees.

Every worker is a "team member".

It's like the old joke, instead of getting a raise, you get a "title".

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 18:33 | 2487890 Michael
Michael's picture

25% of workers are eligible for a government pension and the 75% of workers who don't get a pension when they retire have to guarantee pension payments to those 25% who do get a pension. Great fucking system.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 19:03 | 2487928 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture

You do know that gov't pensions are deferred compensation for work performed today, right?

Pay now or pay later.

I bet most gov't employees would prefer to be paid now--they could invest as they see fit. It'd also give the public a better leg up on negotiating overall compensation.

The problem? The gov't wouldn't have a pension piggy bank to raid whenever revenues fell and they had to cut services.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 20:12 | 2488010 spooz
spooz's picture

Right.  They'd rather have 401K in this economy over defined benefits.  I don't think so.

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 20:40 | 2488041 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture

No--the ones I know want 50% physical PM in small denominations (good for barter--no need for a hacksaw) and the rest to pay off debt. Maybe even stock up on ammo.

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