The high number of involuntary part-time workers is consistent with an average workweek that was unchanged at 34.5 hours for the fourth straight month in June, says Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist of The Economic Outlook Group.
“It stands to reason that if the economy is improving, we would see employees put in more time on the job,” Baumohl says. “This is usually a leading indicator of both future hiring and pay increases.”
Instead, he notes, the economy has been running in place this year. Second-quarter growth will likely offset a 2.9% first-quarter contraction caused partly by bad weather.