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Surging Part-Time Work Distorts Jobs Picture (03/04/13) Dennis Jacobe

Part-time jobs accounted for 20.6% of the work force in February, up from 17.6% in July, according to Gallup. Experts attribute the surge in part-time jobs to employers being hesitant to hire permanent workers due to economic uncertainties and provisions in the Affordable Care Act that impose additional requirements on those hiring permanent employees. Dennis Jacobe, chief economist at Gallup, says the rise in part-time jobs will not benefit Americans or the economy, as such jobs generally do not provide enough money for workers to support themselves or a family, offer limited benefits, and make it difficult for employees to obtain the work experience needed to move into higher-paying jobs. Moreover, part-time jobs put a damper on economic growth because they make it difficult for workers to form new households and purchase items tied to family formation. Jacobe says the rise in part-time jobs distorts the U.S. job situation, noting that workers are taken off unemployment but left underemployed and that part-time jobs are sometimes double-counted by the government’s establishment survey.