Something Snaps In The US Labor Market: Full, Part-Time Workers Plunge As Multiple Jobholders Soar

seminole97

HR Legend
Jun 14, 2005
17,589
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Something odd emerges when looking at the June payrolls report.

On one hand, the closely followed establishment survey came in red hot, and despite dropping modestly from May, it still printed some 100K above the median consensus expectation, at 372K vs the median consensus of 268K...


... and with wages in line with expectations, rising 0.3% M/M or 5.1% Y/Y, it was enough for many to conclude that calls of a recession are premature because, after all, you can't enter a recession when jobs are rising by almost 400K.

True... but a problem emerges when looking at the more detailed, if less closely watched, Household survey. Here, unlike the Establishment Survey, the June jobs change was actually a striking 315K drop, and after the April plunge of 353K, the June drop was actually the biggest going back to the March 2020 crash.



And since the Household survey also feeds other closely watched ratios, such as the labor force participation rate, it explains why despite the apparent "surge" in June jobs, the LFP declined and is now unchanged since January.



So what's going on here? Well, starting at the top, we find the following discrepancy:

  • Establishment Survey: +372K
  • Household Survey: -315K
But things only get worse after that, because if one goes back a little more, one finds that something appears to have broken a few months ago, around March, when the Establishment Survey kept on rising unperturbed, while the Household Survey hit some unexplained brick wall, and hasn't moved at all.



In fact, since March, the Establishment Survey shows a gain of 1.124 million jobs while the Household Survey shows an employment loss of 347K!



But wait, there's more, because digging in even deeper, we find that this drop in Household Survey employment is the result of both full-time and part-time jobs. In fact, as shown below, since March, the US has lost 70K full-time employees and 462K part-time employees.



This trend has persisted into June, when according to the BLS, the US labor force saw a 152K drop in full-time workers and a 326K drop in part-timers (source). The offset? Multiple jobholders, or people who have more than one job.

As shown below, while the number of total employees (per the Household Survey) has stagnated, the number of multiple jobholders has been growing steadily, hitting a new post-covid high in June of 7,541 million.



The increase for June? 239K, which stands in stark contrast to the decline in individual holders of single part-time and full-time jobs.



And even more remarkable: the number of multiple jobholders whose primary and secondary jobs are both full-time just hit a record high! Hardly the sign of a strong job market, one where people can afford to quit jobs at will.



So what's going on here? The simple answer: Fewer people working, but more people working more than one job, a rotation which picked up in earnest some time in March and which has only been captured by the Household survey.
 

MitchLL

HR Legend
Dec 26, 2018
21,268
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Tl:dr.

I assume increased wages and more free time as people are working from home is allowing wage earners to grab a few extra $$$ with another part time job.

Still need to increase legal immigration to fill the void.
 

seminole97

HR Legend
Jun 14, 2005
17,589
17,861
113
Tl:dr.

I assume increased wages and more free time as people are working from home is allowing wage earners to grab a few extra $$$ with another part time job.

Still need to increase legal immigration to fill the void.
I wonder how the 'side gig' economy factors into this as well.

Car insurance asked me if I was employed with Door Dash, etc. when filing a claim last week.
 

bhawk24bob

HR Legend
Jul 8, 2001
17,526
5,292
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If you do it right and get a remote job on the east coast and a remote job on the west coast, there's not a ton of overlap that's outside of "lunch."

What happens when large employers get on the same page for job verification? That'll ruin some careers
 

Slappy Pappy

HR Heisman
Nov 24, 2007
5,966
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I wonder how the 'side gig' economy factors into this as well.

Car insurance asked me if I was employed with Door Dash, etc. when filing a claim last week.
There are apparently up to several million, mostly young, people that either have not or will not enter the traditional job market due to their ability to support themselves through the app-based economy. This includes both through "gig" work, but also through purely online income, such as streaming or other "content creation."
 
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billanole

HR Legend
Mar 5, 2005
11,790
12,698
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Tl:dr.

I assume increased wages and more free time as people are working from home is allowing wage earners to grab a few extra $$$ with another part time job.

Still need to increase legal immigration to fill the void.
So, where do you harvest your crop? Weirdness.