This statistic estimates the percentage of the U.S. adult population aged 18 and older who are employed full time by an employer for at least 30 hours per week. It is based on tracking interviews with approximately 30,000 Americans, conducted during September/ It does not count people who are self-employed, working part time, unemployed, or out of the workforce as employed.
The measure fell to 43.5% in September, from 43.7% in August, and is down by more than a percentage point from the 45.1% in September 2012. According to Gallup, there has been essentially no growth in full-time employment since at least 2010, the first year Gallup polled on this measure. The percentage of Americans working full time for themselves has gone up slightly, but this does not account for all of the year-over-year decline in employment. Full-time self-employment is at 5.3% in September, up from 5.1% in August and 5.0% in September 2012. The percentage of part-time workers wanting full-time work also increased, suggesting that some of those who were unemployed left the workforce or found part-time work, but not the full-time jobs they are seeking.
This statistic provides a picture of the actual employment situation for the entire U.S. population, which unlike the unemployment rates is not dependent on changes to the size of the workforce. For example, nearly all of the decrease in the unemployment rate since the end of the recession is due to people leaving the workforce rather than increases in the number of people actually working. The falling Payroll to Population figure indicates that fewer people are sustaining the economy or contributing to the tax base.
This statistic provides an interesting comparison with the factory orders numbers which show that unfilled orders are up substantially over the past year, as well as other data on the percentage of national income going to labor. Even though firms are seeing an increase in the demand for their products they simply are not hiring workers. A number of reasons have been cited for this including the increasing regulatory burden, and the option for potential workers to stay on unemployment or other benefits. In addition, the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policies that have been in effect for about 7 years have encouraged businesses to replace labor with capital equipment. Since borrowing costs are very low machinery, software and other capital investments are being kept artificially inexpensive encouraging companies to replace labor with capital. This may be a long lasting impact of current government policy and may lead to a more permanent decrease in overall employment to population.