The addition of 195,000 non-farm payroll jobs (plus upward revisions in past months) is nothing to sneeze at. It is some confirmation that sequester has not sent the economy careening, as the White House warned. But the biggest story here is the part-time unemployment numbers.
The U-6 number (unemployed, part-time employed and underemployed) took a statistically alarming jump from 13.8 to 14.3 percent. Coupled with 322,000 part-time jobs and 1 million workers who abandoned the job market.
Why all this part-time employment? It is hard to avoid the conclusion that it is related to Obamacare, which places burdens on employers for each full-time worker. Had the Obama administration not attempted triage by delaying the employer mandate, the numbers could well have been expected to worsen (and still could).
If we want to arrest the flight from the job market and give a boost to full-time jobs, we should at the very least do no more harm. Freezing Obamacare and foregoing anti-growth climate change legislation would be helpful. Instead of raising energy costs, domestic energy development is the no-brainer move, but one the president appears incapable of adopting.
Republicans want to revise the tax code, but the cost of that — a tax increase — greatly outweighs any benefit. They would therefore be wise to focus on these policies: energy development, regulatory relief and immigration reform (which decreases the debt and increases GDP). If the private sector revives, the deficit will take care of itself.
The Obama administration looks at the private sector to feed endless government growth and to carry out its social and economic policy (in health care, the financial sector). It has weighted private employers down, adding one burden after another, and tried to game the marketplace (e.g. green jobs). It is therefore constricting and distorting the markets in ways it never anticipated and inspiring defensive actions (outsourcing, part-time employment) by shell-shocked employers.
The part-time employment phenomenon illustrates the flaw at the center of the liberal welfare state: No economy can thrive with an oppressive welfare state that sucks more and more money from the productive sector and tries to micromanage employers. Band-Aids (e.g. a year postponement in the employer mandate) aren’t going to cure the patient; only a new administration with a different economic philosophy can accomplish that.