AP's Rugaber Claims 'Job Market May Be Strengthening'; Doesn't Mention Dominance of Part-Timers and Temps

I guess the Associated Press's business and economics reporters feel they've done their jobs if they mention the relative donominance of new workforce entries by temps and part-timers once, while still denigrating the obvious validity of the latter — and pretend it never has to be mentioned again.

That's how the AP's Christopher Rugaber can produce a writeup, as he did today, telling readers that "The job market is sending signs that it may be strengthening," which contains no reference to part-timers or temps, obviously because that would disrupt the "improvement" meme. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):


The number of people seeking unemployment benefits has sunk to its lowest point in six years because few companies are laying anyone off anymore.

A survey of service companies found that they added jobs last month at their fastest pace in six months.

And more small businesses say they plan to hire than at any point since the recession began.

All of which is prompting some economists to forecast a healthier job gain in September than the economy has produced in recent months.

"If you put all that together, it suggests that there has been an improvement in job market conditions," said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.

Ashworth predicts that employers will have added 220,000 jobs in September. That would be the biggest gain in nearly seven months and would mark a sharp reversal from the summer. Job growth has averaged just 155,000 a month since April, down from 205,000 in the first four months of the year.

How impressive is this if over half the jobs are going to temps and part-timers?

So far this year, almost 60% of net jobs added per the government's Household Survey have gone to part-timers:

FTvsPTjobPercentages1996to0813

On top of that, while admitting that there is some overlap between temps and part-timers, the fact is that the economy has added 146,500 seasonally adjusted temp positions — over 10 percent of the 1.442 million payroll jobs added per the Establishment Survey of employers so far this year for a sector that is only 2 percent (and obviously growing) of the labor market — and there appear to be no signs of a let-up.

In early July, Rugaber did an report on the growth in temp services employees. From what I've read, he hasn't mentioned it since.

Earlier this month, the AP's Paul Wiseman mentioned the dominance of part-timers, but he tried to explain it away by saying that the "figures are volatile." In both cases, it's as if mentioning them once means they can leave them alone indefinitely after that. Sorry, guys. They're both still relevant, and Wiseman's cop-out on part-time hiring being "volatile" is pathetic.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.