An eastern Iowa “think tank” has conducted a national survey which suggests only 60 percent of Americans in the workforce have a full-time job. The other 40 percent are either part-timers, temps, contract employees or merely “on-call” if work becomes available.
“These are all somewhat related to the recession and to people having no choice but to take what they can get,” says Noga O’Connor, a researcher with the Iowa Policy Project.
O’Connor and other Iowa Public Policy Project researchers surveyed 1300 people across the country. The survey found between 2005 and 2009, the rate of Americans who were forced to work part-time or lose their job doubled. David Osterberg, a co-founder of the Iowa Policy Project, hopes their report prods federal officials to seek more detailed data about “non-standard workers” and under-employment.
“I just looked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the number who are part-time and don’t want to be part-time — it’s pushing nine million now,” Osterberg says.
The Iowa Policy Project survey also sought to gauge the percentage of U.S. workers who have health care coverage through their employer. O’Connor says they found four percent of the workers surveyed had a medical discount card which they incorrectly believed provided full insurance coverage.
“Now, four percent in a survey of 1300 is a very small group,” O’Connor says. “But…if you look at 150 million workers nationwide, four percent of those is about six million Americans who potentially have only a medical discount card in their possession and believe or were led to believe that they are actually possessing health insurance, that they are covered.”
The Iowa Policy Project survey was financed with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. O’Connor and Osterberg made their comments late this morning during a telephone conference call with reporters.