It has been said that a lie travels around the world before the truth gets out of bed. Such is the case with the persistent claim from the right that President Obama presides over what they love to call a “part-time economy.” They claim that there are millions of American workers who want to work full-time, but can’t find full-time jobs.
Of course, there’s an Obamacare component to the claim: right-wing blogs and news outlets have been claiming for months that, thanks to Obamacare, employers have been reducing the hours of their employees to less than 30 hours per week, so that they don’t have to offer those employees health coverage.
This is yet another example of a right-wing lie that will not die. It was repeated yet another time in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on July 13 by right-wing media mogul Mortimer Zuckerman.
Zuckerman latches onto the June jobs report as proof that President Obama is destroying full-time jobs. He writes:
Last month involuntary part-timers swelled to 7.5 million, compared with 4.4 million in 2007. Way too many adults now depend on the low-wage, part-time jobs that teenagers would normally fill.
In typical conservative fashion, Zuckerman presents only part of the information. He is correct that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that as of June, 7.5 million Americans who wanted full-time jobs were working part-time. But he leaves out part of the information. Here’s the full quote from the BLS’s “Employment Situation Summary“:
The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 275,000 in June to 7.5 million. The number of involuntary part-time workers is down over the year but has shown no clear trend in recent months. [Emphasis added]
Numbers don’t lie.
Thankfully, Derek Thompson, writing in The Atlantic, blows this right-wing lie out of the water with a couple of simple graphs. First, he shows that the entire spike in involuntary part-time employment occurred before Obamacare became law. The number of involuntary part-time workers has fluctuated upwards and downwards over the past four or five years, but the trend is downward. According to the BLS, in June of 2013 that number stood at around 8.2 million. In June of 2011, it was 8.5 million. Zuckerman cherry picks the facts to support his argument.
Using statistics from BLS, Thompson ends his story with this graph, that should (but won’t) shut up Republicans forever on this topic.