Too many people are stuck in part-time jobs, and it’s no accidentPosted: 2016-12-30
Six years into recovery from the great recession, not everything is recovering like it should be. Take part-time work. Actually, you might have to take it, given the number of people involuntarily working part-time out there. And according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, the high level of involuntary part-time work isn’t cyclical, created by a lagging economy. It’s becoming structural—something employers are doing on purpose even though they don’t have to. A few fun facts:
- The share of people working part-time involuntarily remains at recessionary levels. In 2015, there were 6.4 million workers who wanted to work full time but were working part time, accounting for 4.4 percent of those at work; this is roughly 2.0 million more involuntary part-time workers, or a 1.3 percentage-point increase in the rate of involuntary part-time employment prior to the recession. In fact, data from 2007 to 2015 show that involuntary part-time work is increasing almost five times faster than part-time work and about 18 times faster than all work. […]
- Involuntary part-time work and its growth are concentrated in several industries that more intensively use part-time work, specifically, retail and leisure and hospitality. Retail trade (stores and car dealers, etc.) and leisure and hospitality (hotels, restaurants, and the like) contributed well over half (63.2 percent) of the growth of all part-time employment since 2007, and 54.3 percent of the growth of involuntary part-time employment. These two industries, together with educational and health services and professional and business services, account for the entire growth of part-time employment and 85.0 percent of the growth of involuntary part-time employment from 2007 to 2015.
One thing it’s not: the Affordable Care Act’s fee for employers who don’t provide health coverage for employees working 30 or more hours a week. One thing it is, in practice: racist.
- Hispanic and black workers have been hardest hit by the structural shift toward involuntary part-time work. Hispanics and blacks are relatively much more likely to be involuntarily part-time (6.8 percent and 6.3 percent respectively) than whites, of whom just 3.7 percent work part time involuntarily. And blacks and Hispanics are disproportionate shares of involuntary part-time workers: together they constitute just 27.9 percent of those “at work,” they represent 41.1 percent of all involuntary part-time workers. The greater amount of involuntary part-time employment among blacks and Hispanics is due to their both having a greater inability to find full-time work and facing more slack work conditions. Black and Hispanic women (and women of “other race/ethnicity”) are the groups most likely to experience involuntary part-time employment and represented 21.1 percent of all involuntary part-time workers in 2015.
Anyone want to place any bets on this getting better under Donald Trump?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.