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Alan Krueger, the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said that most jobs created since passage of the health care law have been full-time positions. Is that correct? Alan Krueger, the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said that most jobs created since passage of the health care law have been full-time positions. Is that correct?

Alan Krueger, the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said that most jobs created since passage of the health care law have been full-time positions. Is that correct?

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson August 7, 2013

Alan Krueger, top economist to Obama, says most new jobs since health care law passed are full time

Policymakers and pundits are spending a lot of time these days talking about part-time jobs -- whether they are becoming more common at the expense of full-time jobs, and how problematic that is.

Republicans note that President Barack Obama’s health care law requires larger employers to provide health insurance to their workers, which they say gives companies an incentive to cut workers’ hours so much that they become part-time workers and thus exempt from the health insurance mandate.

And beyond the question of Obamacare’s incentives, some economists worry that since the most recent recession, companies have been unusually willing to hire part-time workers rather than full-time workers.

We recently noticed two seemingly contradictory comments on this topic -- one from a Republican, one from a Democrat -- and thought it would be worthwhile checking both.

In this item, we will check a comment made by Alan Krueger, the chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, during an interview with Sara Eisen of Bloomberg television.

Eisen asked Krueger whether we’re "creating a part-time economy. The news is filled with stories of small businesses and colleges cutting back worker's hours or putting a freeze on hiring."

He responded, "I think that's highly misleading. Since the Affordable Care Act passed, 90 percent of job growth has been in full-time positions." (The Affordable Care Act is the more formal name of Obama’s health care law.)

In the other item, we checked a claim made by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that "this year, the overwhelming majority of new jobs are part-time."

These two comments paint sharply different pictures, so we turned to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For Krueger, we checked the change in full-time and part-time employment between March 2010 and July 2013, then determined which of the two types of employment accounted for a larger share of the increase in overall employment. Here’s the summary:

 

Date

Full-time employees

Part-time employees

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March 2010

111,195,000

27,527,000

July 2013

116,090,000

28,233,000

Change

+4,895,000

+706,000

 

So Krueger is right -- 87 percent of the increase in employment over this period came from full-time jobs.

Still, we will note that if you use a shorter time horizon, such as calendar year 2013, a large percentage of jobs created were part-time positions.

In other words, by choosing the time frame carefully, you can find support for either side of this argument.

Our ruling

Krueger said that "since the Affordable Care Act passed, 90 percent of job growth has been in full-time positions." The statistics show that 87 percent of the increase in jobs between March 2010 and July 2013 consisted of full-time jobs. A shorter time frame would show the opposite pattern, but on the numbers, Krueger is right. We rate the claim True.

Our Sources

Alan Krueger, interview with Bloomberg television, Aug. 2, 2013

Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Table A-6. Employed and unemployed full- and part-time workers by sex and age, seasonally adjusted," accessed Aug. 6, 2013

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation News Release, April 5, 2013

Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Table A-8. Employed persons by class of worker and part-time status," Aug. 2, 2013

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation News Release, June 4, 2010

Email interview with Gary Burtless, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Aug. 5, 2013

Email interview with Tara Sinclair, economist at George Washington University, Aug. 5, 2013

Email interview with Francis Horvath, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aug. 5, 2013

Email interview with Jessica Santillo, White House spokeswoman, Aug. 5, 2013

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More by Louis Jacobson

Alan Krueger, top economist to Obama, says most new jobs since health care law passed are full time

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