You may remember that some of our economic geniuses in the media think it is a great idea to shorten the work week. For many of our poorest, however, that policy is already a reality. Their hours shrank during the recession and have never come back.
If the hours of workers averaged the same number per week that they were getting before the recession they would make, on average, another five hundred dollars per year.
According to James B. Sherk in the Daily Signal, the damage of reduced hours is more than just financial.
Less time in the workplace means it takes longer for workers to gain experience and on-the-job skills – human capital that is crucial to wage growth and career advancement. For instance, two out of every three employees who started at minimum wage make more within a year of starting working.
Obamacare will further hurt poorer workers trying to acquire more hours on the job because it penalizes employers for hiring low-wage workers full-time. The law’s penalties will soon raise the cost of hiring full-time workers in the bottom quintile by an average of one-sixth.
Unsurprisingly, many employers will respond to the penalties by hiring part-time workers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Affordable Care Act will significantly reduce hours worked in the economy—especially hours worked by low-income employees.
The further decline of working hours at the bottom will make it harder for low-wage workers to acquire the skills and experience necessary to get ahead. Total employment may have returned to pre-recession levels, but hours on the job have not.
Basically, people are still aging 365 days a year as they always did. But they are gaining work experience at a reduced rate compared to what they used to accomplish.
Of course, this sort of damage is the kind that is rarely noticed by our elites.