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EconoChat

Tom Keene Talks to Economic Adviser Jared Bernstein


Tell me what you think about the latest job report.
It was a strong report. One problem is that the labor force actually contracted. Remember, you are only counted as unemployed if you are looking for work. That means you are in the labor force. So while the unemployment rate came down, about half of that decline was attributable to folks leaving the labor force.
 
Is America becoming a nation of part-time workers?
There has been an increase in part-time work, particularly as employers, who are testing the waters to see how well their goods and services are selling, haven’t been willing to commit to full-time workers. A bunch of those part-timers are involuntary part-timers.
 
Conservatives say part of the reason so many Americans work part time is high medical costs.
If you look at the incentives in the Affordable Care Act, as an employer you either provide insurance or subsidize it for your full-time workers, so there is an incentive to hire folks working less than 30 hours a week. But that hasn’t kicked in yet.
 
Do we need more stimulus?
In the near term, yes. But if you want to get any traction with that in Washington, you shouldn’t call it stimulus because it’s got a bad name.

Keene hosts Bloomberg Surveillance 7-10 a.m. ET on 1130 AM in the New York metro area and nationally on SiriusXM 113.

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