SEBELIUS: "Actually that just isn't true. What we see is an increase in full-time jobs. There's a decrease in the number of Americans working part-time hours." â¿¿ On CNN, Thursday.
THE FACTS: Cantor's statement reflects fears of what might happen over time. Sebelius' statement rests on statistics, though selective ones.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of people working part-time involuntarily â¿¿ because of slack work or business conditions or because they can't find full-time jobs â¿¿ was 7.9 million in August. That's down by a hair from a year earlier, when it was 8 million. In that time, the average weekly hours worked also went up marginally. And unemployment overall dropped to 7.3 percent from 8.1 percent. These figures support Sebelius.
Yet involuntary part-time work is up a whopping 75.6 percent since August 2007, when the economy was about to go into deep recession. That supports Cantor's point about change in the job market. Some recent surveys have found a growing number of businesses that are cutting hours for part-time workers to keep them below the 30-hour threshold that places health-insurance obligations on them.
Much of the surge in part-time work, though, came before enactment of the health care law in 2010 or during its earliest stages. The effects of its obligations on employers have yet to take root. For now, the case that "Obamacare" will turn the workforce into a part-time one is anecdotal at best. Also plausible â¿¿ and speculative â¿¿ is the possibility that the law will work as its advocates intend and spur jobs by lightening the health insurance burden.
Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Tom Raum contributed to this report.