It's fair to say that about the only holdouts against the idea that part-time work is up and that employee hours are being reduced around the economy are the Obama White House and a few Obama White House alumni. It's also fair to say that there are very few holdouts against the idea that the cause for this is Obamacare's 30-hours-per-week definition of a full-time employee, which is causing far more businesses than usual to cut existing workers' hours and to limit their hiring to part-timers. Even Obama-sympathetic NBC did a report on Obamacare's impact earlier this week. The White House dismissed what NBC found as "merely anecdotal."
All along, everyone — yes, this includes yours truly — has been concentrating on overall changes in the average work week, which have been very minimal. But Jed Graham at Investor's Business Daily, doing work which apparently no one else in the business press has been willing or discerning enough to do for all these months as the issue has raged, identified four industry sectors where average weekly hours have dropped significantly, and where it's hard to claim that anything except Obamacare could be the culprit.
Here are the four IBD charts (ultimate data source is the Bureau of Labor Statistics; yours truly verified data on two of the charts):
Here is some of what Graham wrote to accompany them:
ObamaCare Fuels Sharp Workweek Drop In 4 Industries
Anyone who insists ObamaCare employer penalties aren't having a meaningful impact on work hours simply hasn't looked closely at the evidence.
In a private economy with 114 million workers clocking 34.4 hours a week on average, it's easy to miss important changes.
After all, 1.4 million workers could lose an 8-hour shift and it would shave just six minutes off the average workweek.
But if one looks closely, it's not hard to find industry groups with an unprecedented drop in work hours since ObamaCare became law.
Among retail bakeries, home-improvement stores and providers of social assistance to the elderly and disabled, the workweek for nonmanagers has fallen to record-low levels — by far.
At general merchandise stores, department stores and discounters, the rate at which the workweek has fallen since early 2012 is way off the charts relative to prior data going back to 1990.
... the industry data, the incentives and the anecdotes match up pretty perfectly. Household survey data showing a year-over-year decline in the number of 30-34 hour workers provide further evidence of an ObamaCare shift.
The industries listed above are among the most logical to test for an ObamaCare effect because the average workweek has been above, or at least close to, 30 hours — the point at which ObamaCare makes employers liable for health coverage.
Graham then proceeded to name a half-dozen specific companies in other sectors which have specifically cited Obamacare as a reason for their move to hire more part-timers and/or reduced current workers' hours, including Walmart, Krispy Kreme, and Lowes.
Nice work by Jed Graham confirming bad news for U.S. workers as Obamacare's shadow looms larger with each passing day.
At least one person who deserves to be picked on is Mark Zandi of Moody's. In his early July conference call following ADP's National Employment Report (notes here), he insisted that there was "No significant evidence of health care reform impact," that early indications that this might be happening had "evaporated," and that the pickup in part-time workers was "only evidence of volatility."
What's obvious is that Zandi and his people haven't been looking hard enough.
What also seems obvious is the press's reluctance until backed against the wall to expose any imperfections in the president's apparently sacrosanct legislative "achievement."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.