In a helpful fact-check at MarketWatch, Rex Nutting corrects a mistake that I — and a number of other economic commentators — made Friday: The employment gains on the Household Survey didn’t come from part-time jobs.
The mistake I made was looking at table A-8, the table that tracks part-time work among people who want full-time work, rather than A-9, which tracks part-time work overall. A-8 showed a spike — which is why U6, the broadest measure of labor-market misery, the one that counts part-time workers who want to be full-time, didn’t budge — but A-9 didn’t.
That’s a lot of jargon, so here’s the bottom line. The number of workers who are involuntarily part-time did rise sharply in September. But the number of part-time workers overall fell a bit. That is to say, the job gains on the Household Survey came from full-time work. Nutting even posted the following helpful graph.