Frequent readers will know that last year, I declared that the end of full-time employment in the American service industry (due to Obamacare) would be the biggest economic story of 2013. The mainstream media either has not yet noticed or cannot be bothered with a story that does not put Obama in the best possible light, but the story is starting to get out none-the-less.
Expect a lot more of this. The service industry generally does not operate 8 hours a day, 5 days a week anyway, so its labor needs do not match traditional full-time shifts. Those of us who run service companies already have to piece together multiple employees and shifts to cover our operating hours. In this environment, there is no reason one can't stitch together employees making 29 hours a week (that don't have to be given expensive health care policies) nearly as easily as one can stitch together 40 hours a week employees. In fact, it can be easier -- a store that needs to cover 10AM to 9PM can cover with two 5.5 hour a day employees. If they work 5 days a week, that is 27.5 hours a week, safely part-time. Three people working such hours with staggered days off can cover the store's hours for 7 days.
Based on the numbers above, a store might prefer to only have <30 hour shifts, but may provide full-time 40 hours work because good employees expect it and other employers are offering it. But if everyone in the service business stops offering full-time work, there will be no reason not to go to such a plan, and thousands of dollars per employee to do so.