The release of the June Jobs’ Report Friday was something of a relief for the markets. The Labor Department reported that the economy gained 195,000 jobs in June, which beat economists’ expectations. The Department also reported that the economy gained 70,000 more jobs in April and May than it originally estimated. The report, however, also provides clear evidence that the the nation is splitting into two; only 47% of Americans have a full-time job and those who don’t are finding it increasingly out of reach.
Of the 144 million Americans employed last month, only 116 million were working full-time. Friday’s report showed that 58.7% of the civilian adult population of 245 million was working last month. Only 47% of Americans, however, had a full-time job.
The market’s positive reaction to Friday’s report is another sign of how far our economic expectations have fallen. If today the same proportion of Americans worked as just a decade ago, there would be almost 9 million more people working. Just in the last year, almost 2 million Americans have left the labor force. With a majority of the population not holding a full-time job, it isn’t surprising that economic growth has been so weak.
In June, the number of Americans who wanted to work full-time, but were forced into part-time jobs because of the economy, jumped 352,000 to over 8 million.
The Jobs’ Report is increasingly measuring only a part of the American economy. While Friday’s report was better than expected, it only measures those who are working or actively looking for work. There is a growing number of Americans slipping through the cracks of the job market.