Part-Time Workers a Full-Time Headache on Yellen Radar: Economy

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has a stubborn warning light blinking on her labor marketdashboard: A group of Americans larger than Washington state’s population can find only part-time work.

As Yellen heads to this week’s Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the focus will be on the labor market, those 7.5 million part-time workers who want full-time jobs are inflating the broad measure of underemployment she watchesto gauge job market health. Involuntary part-time workers have gained by 325,000 from February’s five-year low.

With employment and inflation nearing Fed goals, Yellen has consistently cautioned some labor market measures still show enough slack to warrant keeping interest rates low. In the shadow of the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains, she’ll have a chance to highlight soft spots such as the crowded pool of part-timers as investors try to decipher the timing of the Fed’s first rate increase-rate increase since 2006.

“We still have quite a long ways to go,” said Aneta Markowska, chief U.S. economist at Societe Generale SA in New York. In the discussion of monetary policy, “I’d be surprised if the message is anything other than dovish.” <Read more.>

Via Jeff Kearns and Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg. 

I can’t help but wonder how many of these part-time workers are working adjuncts trying to secure full-time employment in academia. 

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