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REAL NUMBERS, REAL PEOPLE

By Columns

Sometimes economists and other talking heads get so deep in the numbers that it’s hard for them to remember that they are talking about real people. And, so it is with our story tonight on temporary workers. 17 million of us are working as freelancers, contractors, consultants and plain old part-timers. That, to me, is a tragedy because most of us don’t want that! We want real, full-time jobs that we can count on.

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Unfortunately, the Great Recession may have changed the job market fundamentally, resulting in more part-time and less full-time jobs. Subsequent uncertainty sparked by Obamacare and tax rates didn’t help. An Associated Press survey of 37 economists revealed that three-quarters believe the move to temporary workers is permanent.

Remember the jobs report from Friday? Most of these part-time workers are involuntarily putting in fewer hours. It’s not their choice. It’s the choice of employers. Real unemployment in this country – if you include people employed for 15 weeks or longer is 14.6%.

In the end, the numbers are people. People who want to put food on the table and their kids in college. We need an economy that can do that. We still have a long way to go.