A Jobs Recovery Built On Temp Help, Waiters & Bartenders

As we suspected in our last post many of the net new jobs created during the entire tenure of the Obama administration have been low quality and in areas of low pay. a/  Table 1 illustrates this point as temporary help services ranks number in jobs creation followed by food services & drinking places – i.e., waiters and bartenders.

The 1.1 million new jobs in these two industries represent almost 30 percent of the positive change in payrolls since January 2009.  It also fits a trend which  of the NY Times wrote about last week,

“Over the past two decades, many major retailers went from a quotient of 70 to 80 percent full-time to at least 70 percent part-time across the industry,” said Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of the Strategic Resource Group, a retail consulting firm.

No one has collected detailed data on part-time workers at the nation’s major retailers. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the retail and wholesale sector, with a total of 18.6 million jobs, has cut a million full-time jobs since 2006, while adding more than 500,000 part-time jobs.

Table 2 shows that construction workers, mainly specialty trade contractors, such as plumbers and electricians have been hammered over the past four years.  We’ve  posted in depth analysis on this sector and it was good to finally see a positive print of 17K in Friday’s jobs numbers.  Hopefully it’s the beginning of a trend.  Fingers crossed.

Table 2 also shows that state and local government workers have fared poorly, including teachers.    Also interesting in the data are the loss of 107k jobs in printing and 101K in publishing, which we suspect are related to technological innovation.   All these lost jobs have been in relatively high paying industries.

The upshot?   To understand what has happened to the American middle class go no further than the data in Table 2.

a/ This includes both jobs lost earlier in the term and jobs created over the past two years (see last chart).

(click here if tables are not observable)

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