Whether or not you agree with every point John Mauldin attempts to make in his article and his prescriptions for what ails the US and global economies, etc., the fact is, he’s exactly right that at this point, it appears part-time work accounted for the tentative figures/drop in the US unemployment rate. Here’s part of what he had to say:
The BLS also gives us something called the U-6 unemployment rate, which is the total unemployed plus all marginally attached workers employed part-time for economic reasons. Right now the U6 unemployment rate is 14.7%, which is exactly where it was one month ago. The chart below is for the last year, and you can easily see that there’s been no change in the last month.
That means the entire drop in the headline unemployment rate is from the increase in part-time workers. That such significant numbers of people can only find part-time work is not a sign of a strong and growing economy. It is however completely consistent with a flat, lackluster economy.
If the next 0.3% drop in the unemployment rate is again due to a gain in the number of part-time workers, I don’t think anybody will be talking about how strong the US economy is.
Consistent readers of John Mauldin can attest that he does indeed follow the unemployment statistics rather closely and in some depth.