The number of Americans on public assistance has hit an all-time high, and so has part-time and temporary employment. According to a new federal report detailed by Stuart Varney on Fox News, there are now 100 million Americans on at least one type of taxpayer-funded assistance. As if that statistic was not troubling enough, there are only 97 million Americans currently working full time to pay for entitlement programs such as food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid, and even the dreaded “Obama Phones.”
A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report notes that approximately 28 million Americans work part-time jobs. Of course, an adult could work two part-time jobs at once, but such employment would most likely provide a modest paycheck and perhaps continued reliance on some type of entitlement program. The increase in part-time employment is possibly prompted by our still struggling economy, but also by looming Obamacare.
My daughter-in-law has a degree in early childhood education. Upon her return to the workforce after staying home with precious and adorable Crosley, she was offered only part-time employment due to Obamacare fears. Although she was courted back by her former employer (which desperately wanted an experienced teacher), they were bound by human resources dictates to offer her only 28 hours per week. Work hour cuts forced other quality childcare staffers to take on part-time jobs in retail or food service work to make ends meet. All the dire Obamacare predictions by fiscal conservatives are now coming to pass.
The BLS report also revealed another troubling trend. A record number of United States citizens are now employed in only temporary jobs. Such positions typically include seasonal outdoor positions, retail jobs at peak shopping times of the year, and low-level office positions. Approximately 2.7 million Americans are now temporary workers. The second largest employer in the United States is Kelly Services, a temporary worker placement agency. Kelly Services employed roughly 538,000 according to the most recently available statistics.
Walmart remains at the top of the American employers list, with about 2,100,000 workers. While the big box store surely employs professionals in administrative, marketing, and managerial positions, the bulk of the employees are most likely cashiers, warehouse staffers, and deli/bakery workers. The only blue-collar Walmart workers who actually bring home a significant paycheck are likely the tractor-trailer drivers who haul the largely “Made in China” goods cross country.
The list of top American employers in order of worker counts include: IBM, UPS, McDonalds, Yum! (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC), Target, Kroger, Hewlett Packard, Home Depot, Sears, Pepsi, Bank of America, General Electric, and CVS Pharmacy. Over the past five decades, the United States has shifted from a manufacturing to a service-oriented economy. In 2013, only one tenth of Americans worked in the goods creation realm, according to a New York Times report.
Just three of the top fifteen employing companies in the country are goods-producing. During the 1960s, a total of 12 of the top 15 American companies were manufacturing related. The list of top employers during that prosperous era include: General Motors, Bell System (now AT&T), Ford Motor, General Electric, US Steel, Sears, A&P Supermarket, Esso (Now Exxon), Bethlehem Steel, ITT (International Telephone and Telegraph), Westinghouse Electric, General Dynamics (US military contractor), Chrysler, Sperry Rand (electronics equipment), and International Harvester, an agricultural machinery and construction equipment company. Not only does the 1960s list illustrate the once strong tradition of American-made goods, the jobs held by workers at the manufacturing companies boasted much higher paychecks than those earned by the current top employers.
Concerns about an economic collapse in America appear to be even more valid when reviewing not just the misguided philosophies of liberals on entitlement programs or the latest wave of “kinda sorta” accurate unemployment numbers, but the type of existing job opportunities. A married couple with children working retail positions either part or full-time at Walmart are far less likely to achieve the American dream than their 1960s peers.
American Staffing Association statistics cited by the Washington Examiner note:
“In the first quarter of 2013, U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.86 million temporary and contract workers, or 2 percent of all non-farm employment in the United States. This represents a 2.9 percent growth from the same period in 2012. For just the month of June, there was a 6.7 percent growth in the number of staffing jobs than last year.”
About one-fifth of all job increases since the recession supposedly ended have been temporary positions. In June, full-time jobs numbers in America reportedly declined by an additional 240,000 positions. At the same time, temporary and part-time jobs reached an all-time high. The average work assignment of a temporary worker is three months.
BLS seasonally adjusted employment statistics indicate that professional staffing firms added about 9,500 new jobs from May to June, and that figure included part-time and temporary jobs. But, the American Staffing Association stated that staffing employment is flat in comparison to the same time period last year.
American Staffing Association President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Wahlquist had this to say about the employment figures:
“In this slowly growing economy, businesses continue to strategically increase the size of their permanent and flexible work forces. Staffing firms report that the rate of growth in demand for talent in several sectors has moderated compared to last year at this time.”
The current national unemployment remains virtually unchanged and stands at 7.6 percent. A true unemployment figure is almost impossible to come by. The federal agencies which track and try to explain the figures to the best of their advantage really do not have any clue about how many people are currently unemployed in America.
The number of people who are no longer filing unemployment claims is all they can really tabulate. Citizens who are working part-time and temporary positions are not counted among the unemployed, but are very likely underemployed and unable to keep up with their bills. The vast numbers of Americans who are either not working full-time or are receiving a check each month from the folks who do, illustrate just how fragile the state of our economy remains.