Recent shifts in the U.S. job market have raised concerns, as there has been a noticeable increase in part-time employment accompanied by a decline in full-time positions.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a reduction of 670,000 full-time jobs, defined as those requiring more than 35 hours per week, since June. In contrast, part-time positions have seen a surge of over one million.
August’s employment figures have further reinforced this trend, with the addition of only 187,000 nonfarm payroll jobs. Additionally, the unemployment rate climbed to 3.8% in August, up from 3.5% in July.
E.J. Antoni, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, expressed concern over this shift, noting that employers typically transition from full-time to part-time positions as the economy approaches a recession.
He also pointed out that the manufacturing sector, which often leads the job market, has shown minimal growth this year, with an increase of less than 0.1% compared to January.
Manufacturing data supports this observation, revealing a modest addition of 16,000 jobs in August following a loss of 4,000 jobs in July. Since January, the sector has only added a total of 12,000 jobs, with employment figures standing at 12,985,000 in January and 12,997,000 in August.
Antoni cited various surveys, including those from Federal Reserve regional banks and private sources, indicating a slowdown in the labor market and the broader economy. He believes there may no longer be enough full-time jobs available for those seeking them, as most individuals entering the job market in August were unable to secure full-time positions.
The report also highlighted downward revisions in job figures. June’s job additions were revised from 185,000 to 105,000, and July’s numbers were adjusted from 187,000 to 157,000. Additionally, the revised real Gross Domestic Product for the second quarter of 2023 indicated a lower economic growth rate, reduced from 2.4% to 2.1%.