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174,000 Part-time Jobs Added in July, BLS Says

Trend toward part-time labor continues, worrying some experts.

The July jobs report was released on Aug. 2, 2013, showing fewer jobs created than had been expected. The unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, but only 162,000 jobs were added and May and June were revised down by a total of 26,000 jobs.

Alan Krueger, in his final day as chairman of the White House council of economic advisers, called it a “solid” report, but some economists interviewed on CNBC were concerned by the data – including the trend toward more part-time hiring.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics told the MRC’s Business and Media Institute that 174,000 part-time jobs were added in July. Economist Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the report showed more people moving into part-time work and cited Obamacare and the sequester as the causes.

Co-anchor Kelly Evans pointedly asked Krueger “Do you think Obamacare is part of the problem?” regarding structural changes” [more part-time jobs] to the labor force. Of course, he said the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been “unambiguously been positive.”

Business owners, economists and even national media outlets have begun to disagree. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce July 2013 survey, nearly three-fourths of small businesses say the ACA makes it harder to hire workers and 61 percent do not plan to take on additional hires next year.

University of Maryland Economist Peter Morici wrote about the July jobs report saying, “The growing importance of services like retailing and hospitality, and the rigidity and visceral anti-business campaigns of unions drive this trend; however, Obama Care's mandates for employer paid health insurance coverage also impel the use of more part-time workers.”

While the broadcast networks have ignored the increase in part-time jobs and the link to Obamacare on their evening news programs, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and PBS have all linked surging part-time hiring to the president’s health care legislation. From the January 2013 jobs report through the June 2013 jobs report, the broadcast networks evening shows remained silent about those issues.

Liberal media including PBS’ “Newshour,” The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times agree that job gains are just keeping pace with population growth, and the number of part-time workers looking for full-time jobs has increased dramatically.

According to PBS, the numbers are worse than they were even just a year ago: “More than 8 million Americans who were working part-time, even though they say they want a full-time job –in addition, remember, to the 12 million officially unemployed. And if you count all part-time workers in America – those who worked between one and 34 hours in the past week – the total is now up above 27 million, several hundred thousand more than it was a year ago.”

Kristine Marsh contributed to this story.