Employment figures show an increase in part-time workers in the U.S. and Obamacare could cause those numbers to go up.
Obamacare has set the number for part-time worker status at 30 hours per week, but will that affect the percentage of part-time workers in the American workforce?
Opponents of Obamacare will say yes. Proponents of Obamacare will say no matter the numbers of part-time workers, everyone will have health care insurance available to them, and that’s why Obamacare was created.
Most provisions of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is officially known, go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, and many reports about its potential effects on the employment picture in the United States are based on speculation. But there are concerns that provisions in the Act will make it unattractive for firms to hire employees full-time, which means 30 hours or more a week.
According to an August report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, part-time workers make up 19.4 percent of employed Americans, and that number has been steady since 2009. That study based its percentages on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which considers anyone working less than 35 hours per week as part-time.
Since 1976, the percentage of part-time workers in the American workforce has ranged from 16.5 percent to 20.3 percent, which occurred in 1983. Since 1983, the lowest percentage in the workforce was approximately 17 percent in 2000.
But the Labor Department job report in August showed an increase of more than 100,000 Americans working part-time. Of the approximately one million jobs created since the start of 2013, almost 80 percent were part-time positions. The government also studies what it calls “underemployed’’ workers, who work part-time because they can’t find full-time work, and said that number is 78 percent higher than it was in December 2007, before the economic collapse of 2008.
Here is how Obamacare could affect those numbers: Employers with more than 50 full-time employees must provide health care for those employees, and Obamacare defines a full-time employee as anyone working 30 hours a week. There is concern that employers will split a full-time job into two part-time jobs, avoiding the need to offer health insurance, and denying those part-time employees of employer-provided health care insurance.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.