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Downtime: Workers forced to settle for fewer hours

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Economic Snapshot for January 14, 2009

Downtime: Workers forced to settle for fewer hours

By Ross Eisenbrey with research assistance by Kathryn Edwards

The number of involuntary part-time workers has nearly doubled just in the past year, mostly driven by full-time workers accepting cutbacks in hours.

Involuntary part-time workers, 2006-08

In December, an additional 715,000 workers were classified as “involuntary part time” — either their full-time job was reduced below 35 hours a week or they had to settle for a part-time job because they couldn’t find a full-time one. That brings the total number of involuntary part-time workers to over 8 million. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the two types of involuntary part-timers almost 90% of the increase during the past year was the result of employers reducing worker hours, a clear indication of the economy’s rapid deterioration. If these workers see their hours restored, it will be a sign of the economy’s recovery.


See related work on Wages Incomes and Wealth

See more work by Ross Eisenbrey