As December saw a dip in unemployment, higher job creation and heightened optimism, it also saw an increase in part-time workers finding full-time positions. What’s good news for these workers is equally great news for everyone in the country since these workers will most likely feel more secure and satisfied with their positions and increase their overall spending, circulating more money into the markets. You don’t have to be a financial expert to see that this chain of events resulting in a likely increase of spending spells g-r-e-a-t across the boards.
So what do the numbers actually look like? According to Bloomberg, the number of people in the labor force putting in a full week of work rose to 113.8 million in December. That is the highest it has been since February of 2009 and shows a 1.2 percent improvement from November. Adding the workers that have part-time jobs but desire full-time jobs into the mix yields a different term, the underemployment rate, and is used to delve deeper into the labor situations of the country. The underemployment rate in November was 16.4 percent and dropped to 15.2 percent in December. With more workers gaining the full-time positions they desire, their role as consumers in the market strengthens significantly. As Michael Gapen, a senior U.S. economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. said in Bloomberg, “By moving into more permanent positions, you get a more productive workforce. It makes labor more valuable and that means moderate wage growth, even with the unemployment rate at 8.5 percent. That translates into better consumption momentum entering this year.” With the harsh state of the market and economy as of late, this is great news.
As the underemployment and unemployment rates dropped, the number of workers who were forced to work fewer hours because they could not find full-time work dropped to 8.1 million, the lowest it has been since January 2009. Thankfully, it looks as though the job market is finally picking up the slack that 2009 left for us to drag around for nearly three years. As January 2012 rolls on, one can hope that the trend rolls on as well.