Part-Time Work in Recession and Recovery

Jan 26, 2011

A newly-published presentation by CLASP senior policy analyst Elizabeth Lower-Basch explores the circumstances of part-time workers, the reasons for part-time work, and what has happened to part-time work during the recession.  She also considers the implications of part-time work for the Unemployment Insurance and Workforce Investment Act systems.

Workers can be employed part-time because of economic conditions, the nature of the job, or the worker's needs and preferences.  Involuntary part-time employment typically tracks the unemployment rate, and has risen sharply during the recession.  Some jobs, such as waitresses or retail clerks, are also designed to be part-time regardless of the economic climate.  Even in recession, most part-time workers have chosen such jobs, for reasons such as school or training, family obligations or partial retirement.  However, these workers pay a heavy price for part-time work, including lower wages and fewer benefits, such as paid sick days, health insurance, or pensions.

Given that nearly one in five workers are employed part-time, workforce agencies should consider it part of their mission to help part-time workers find good jobs, including job development aimed at high quality part-time jobs.

See the full presentation >>

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