Last week, we pointed out that the 288,000 jobs gain in June wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be since full-time employment declined by over 500,000 and part-time employment increased by almost 800,000.
For details see: Last week’s employment report in 4 charts …
I thought the spike in part-time employment was a bad thing … a drift to a part-timer economy.
Liberal economist Dean Baker hset me straight in a HuffPost article:
“The Good News About Obamacare in the June Jobs Report”
Here’s Mr. Baker’s spin …
The issue of voluntary part-time relates to Obamacare because one of the main purposes was to allow people to get insurance outside of employment.
For many people … before Obamacare the only way to get insurance was through a job that provided health insurance.
These are people who may previously have felt the need to get a full-time job that provided insurance in order to cover themselves and their families.
With Obamacare there is no longer a link between employment and insurance.
These workers will now have an option to work part-time if they would like to spend time with young children, an ill or disabled family member, or would simply like more time to do other things.
Now workers in the United States no longer need a full-time job to get health insurance.
And the data indicate that many workers are taking advantage of this option.
And, there’s more …
One of the striking developments in the recovery has been the incredibly disproportionate share of jobs that went to older workers.
This was likely due in part to the fact that older workers would have an especially hard time paying for insurance in the individual market and therefore were to desperate to get and keep jobs that provided insurance.
Obamacare now gives older workers the option to buy more affordable insurance on the exchanges.
This may lead many older workers to retire early.
And, there was also a rise in the share of unemployment attributable to people voluntarily quitting their job.
This would be another dividend of Obamacare, as workers would feel more comfortable leaving a job they didn’t like if they didn’t need it to get health care insurance.
Ah, yes … the liberation from work argument. (see “Liberating workers to pursue other activities” … say, what?)
you see, it’s a good thing that people can cut back on work … it’s liberating.
Mr. Baker does lament, though:
Obama has been reluctant to tout these gains.
That is unfortunate; the issue is not just boasting about the success of the law, but making workers aware of the new freedom the law provides.
So, next time you see a surge in part-time workers, don’t blame the ObamaCare employer mandates … give praise to it for removing an incentive to work.