Part Time Work, Revisited

Are you not working a full 40 hours a week, though you would like to? A solid 4.1% of all workers report that they are, in technical terms, “Part Time for Economic Reasons”, which is to say that they’d jump at the chance for a full time job but don’t have one yet. It’s a decent improvement from the 5.3% in this position two years ago, when we last looked at the problem, but it’s still not good.

Worse, the San Francisco Federal Reserve, who studies the phenomenon, has come to believe that it’s a feature of the new economy.

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Part Time Work

Part-time work is a part of the economy.  A first job might be just a few hours after school, and parents often find themselves only able to work while the kids are in school.  Some people want only part-time work while they get their “real career” together, such as an artist who waits tables to pay the bills.  But in an economic downturn, people get stuck with fewer hours than they want and the ranks swell.

When we discussed the employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) here in Barataria, the “Part Time for Economic Reasons” really stuck in the craw of many readers, and for good reasons.  That number has to come down from 5.3% of all employed persons before we can be excited about the jobs reports.  The San Francisco Federal Reserve had the same feeling, and has released a new report with some fascinating details on part-time work in the US and what it is today.

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