The growth of the part-time workforce has been a persistent trend in the labor market.
Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research says part of the increase might be due to the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's set-piece health-care legislation. While much of the focus has been aimed squarely at the millions of Americans forced into part-time work simply because they can't find full-time employment, Baker argues that Obamacare has spurred a jump in voluntary part-time jobs, and that that's really good news.
Here's what he said on Bloomberg Television yesterday.
"[This has] in my mind been incredibly underreported, because this is one of the really good aspects of the Affordable Care Act. I mean, it's important that people get health insurance, that's a really big deal, but one of the problems that we had in the market before we had the Affordable Care Act was that people felt tied to their jobs. Most people pre-Medicare age get insurance through their employer, so what that means is that, particularly if they are in bad health ... they are very worried that if they leave their job or if they lose their job, they're going to lose insurance for themselves and/or their family. Well, now that you can get insurance through the exchanges we see there's a big increase in voluntary part-time employment. ... These are people who choose to work part-time. It's particularly [apparent] among young parents and what we also see among people pre-Medicare age. ... To me, that is a great story, so they can spend time with their families, their kids."