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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Looking for Furloughs in the Jobs Data

Today's post was shared by WCBlog and comes from

The number of workers on federal government payrolls has fallen only 55,000 since January, which might lead you to conclude that the sequester has not had much impact on federal employment. But the number of federal employees who report working part time because they cannot get full-time hours — a sign they might be on furlough — remains high.

The number of these “involuntary part-timers” was 144,000 in August. That is more than twice the number of involuntary part-timers in the federal government in 2012 and in 2011.

(The numbers are not seasonally adjusted, so it’s best to use year-over-year comparisons rather than the change from one month to the next.)

How furloughs are executed varies by government agency and department; in some cases workers must take one unpaid leave day each week, and in others they might be able to take their furlough days consecutively (in which case affected workers would report they didn’t work at all, not that they worked short hours). As a result, the numbers above might understate how many federal workers were furloughed in August.

For comparison, the number of involuntary part-time workers was actually down year-over-year in the private sector, as Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, noted in a blog post:
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