The American Dream used to be a house to call your own that you paid for with a steady paycheck after an honest day’s work. But in this post-financial-crisis nation, the dream for many now means having a part-time job and being able to rent an apartment.
And with unemployment and wages stagnant, as well as uncertainty about the costs of the new health care act for employers, the pared-down expectations may be a trend for years to come.
“The quality of the jobs being added are quite low, especially relative to the jobs that were lost,” said an economist from a major Wall Street investment bank, who declined to be named because he hasn’t published on this trend yet. “Homeownership, especially for the younger, is quite low, showing perhaps some secular decline.”
The jobs report on Friday showed that May unemployment was unchanged at 7.6 percent.
(Read More: How Home Ownership Causes Unemployment)
But digging deeper into the data reveals a different story. The unemployment rate was just 3.8 percent for those with a bachelor’s degree and higher. Its 7.4 percent for those with only a high school degree.
The number of workers who are “part-time for economic reasons” is higher than it has ever been after every recession since 1950, according to the Department of Labor.
And average weekly hours for private employees remains 33.6 hours—about what it was just after the recession ended in 2009.
We shouldn’t expect those average hours to rise, because small businesses and retailers face new health-care rules to be enacted in 2014. In fact, hours may even decline.