Mort Zuckerman’s claim in today’s Wall Street Journal—that an increase of 288,000 jobs in June is the result of a 523,000 drop in full-time employment offset by an 800,000 increase in part-time employment—motivated me to look more carefully at long-term employment trends since 2007. I feared opportunistic reporting of random one-month fluctuations might distort perceptions.
Since 2007, the U.S. population between the ages of 20 and 65 years old has grown by about 9 million people. Despite this population growth, employment is now at nearly the same level as it was in 2007 the pre-recession peak—146 million full- and part-time workers.
Over the last six years, the number of college graduates has grown by 11 to 12 million people. In 2007, there were nearly 52 million managerial and professional jobs for 56 million college graduates. Since 2007, the recovery has created 3 to 4 million additional management and professional jobs. This means that today there are less than 56 million managerial and professional jobs for more than 67 million college graduates. With 75 percent of college graduates participating in the workforce and unemployment among college graduates near-zero at 3.3 percent, nearly 5 million college graduates are underemployed. These individuals have taken lower paying non-managerial and non-professional jobs at the expense of non-college graduates.
With employment flat since 2007, job losses in lower-paying non-managerial and non-professional occupations have offset gains in management and professional employment. Even worse, a gain of 2 to 3 million low-paying service-sector jobs has offset a loss of 5 to 6 million higher-paying non-managerial and non-professional jobs, such as jobs in manufacturing, construction, administrative support and sales. At the same time, a gain of 3 million part-time jobs has offset a loss of 3 million full-time jobs.
Six years after the financial crisis:
- working-age population growth has exceed employment growth;
- higher-paying managerial and professional jobs have grown much more slowly than the growth of college graduates;
- non-managerial/professional jobs have declined;
- non-managerial/professional jobs have shifted to lower-paying service jobs; and,
- part-time employment has grown at the expense of full time work.
It’s no surprise that most people feel the economy is still in recession.