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Hourly Mandate Prompts a Full-Time Work Debate

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Bridenstine says a business in his Oklahoma district plans to cut its workforce from 57 to 49 employees to avoid the employer health insurance mandate.

Unlike earlier recessions, however, there has not been a sharp drop in the share of part-time workers during the recovery. The Fed report says that “reflects a slow recovery of the jobs lost during the recession rather than permanent changes in the proportion of part-time jobs.”

Heidi Shierholz, a labor economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said what’s happening with part-time workers is emblematic of the slow recovery.

Once businesses start seeing new demand for their goods and services they will start hiring workers again and converting some of their part-timers to full-time employees. That change will come as a result of economic fundamentals that will hold sway despite the insurance mandate.

“I don’t think part-time work is taking over,” she said. “When we do generate a robust job recovery, all of the data point to that we will return to the pre-recession share of part-time work as a share of overall employment.”

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