During the 1980s, despite data which even then was telling them they were wrong, it became a mantra of a desperate establishment press that the booming economy under Ronald Reagan really wasn't that impressive because so many of the new jobs created were part-time or temporary.
The data was not then readily available for temps, but it certainly was for part-time vs. full-time employment. It comes from to the Household Survey performed by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics on a monthly basis to determine the unemployment rate. What follows is a graph comparing the growth in employment in those two categories during the 35 post-recession months under Reagan to the analogous 35 months since the most recent recession's official end in June 2009. It will make you wonder how the press can claim objectivity when it has barely touched on the contrast you will see, or even on the poor performance itself without historical comparisons.
Here it is (a percentage of workforce growth version is here; all figures presented in this post are seasonally adjusted):
The part-time numbers are pretty bunched up, so here they are: Part-time jobs added under Obama -- 527,000; Part-time jobs added under Reagan -- 304,000.
Even if you give Team Obama the (totally undeserved) benefit of the doubt and begin the race six months later (the yellow tick marks in the above graph), the economy added 7.876 million jobs on Reagan's watch (8.617 million minus 741,000), the workforce equivalent of well over 10 million today, and has only added 3.704 million under Obama. Oh, and if you're curious -- The economy under George W. Bush added 2.054 full-time jobs in the first 35 months after last decade's recession officially ended in November 2001 -- and just shy of 6 million more during the next 24.
If the past two months' downward slide in full-time employment represents a trend, it may have peaked two months ago.
Since the recession ended, the economy has added 737,000 jobs at temporary help firms, representing 29% of all employment growth according to the Establishment Survey during that time.
If the kind of full-time vs. part-time and temporary employment results we're seeing under Obama were occurring during a Republican or conservative presidential administration, the matter would be getting constant press attention.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.