Meager Part-Time Work Masks Unemployment

Unemployment is often masked by part-time work, since people who would prefer to work full-time are not treated as unemployed by government statistics if they work even part-time. But part-time pay is becoming increasingly meager, reports today’s Washington Post. It takes a look at how part-time workers’ pay has shrunken by double-digit percentages in the Washington, D.C. area, even though that region is one of the most prosperous areas in America.

The official unemployment rate in the U.S. is at 9.6 percent and is expected to rise slightly to over 10 percent in the coming year. But that’s just the official rate; some measures of unemployment that include more jobless people, such as discouraged workers who have given up looking for a job, give unemployment rates of up to 17.5 percent.

Washington, D.C. and its inner suburbs, such as Arlington, have benefited from growing federal payrolls, which will likely expand further due to the massive amount of new regulations and red tape from Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” law. Obamacare creates “183 new agencies, commissions, panels, and other bodies.” The Dodd-Frank law is nearly 2,400 pages long, and it “creates nearly 500 regulatory rulemakings, 60 studies, and 93 reports” that will require lots of new bureaucrats. Yet it left intact the money-losing government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are receiving a bailout likely to exceed $400 billion, while multiplying the regulations and exactions imposed on productive, self-supporting private banks.

By contrast, the outer suburbs of Washington, such as Prince William County and parts of Fairfax County, have suffered massive collapses in real estate values just like many other places in America. Private industry in the Washington metropolitan area, such as the biotech industry in Montgomery County, and high-tech industry in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, will suffer from the flood of red tape under the Obama administration, just like the rest of America. This red tape is a factor in the continued loss of jobs, such as the 95,000 that disappeared from the economy last month.