Pethokoukis, Economics, U.S. Economy

Why are there still so many part-time workers?

Atlanta Fed

Atlanta Fed

Most jobs added in this recovery have been full-time jobs. But the level of part-time work remains above prerecession levels even as the labor market overall has slowly recovered. As the Atlanta Fed’s Ellyn Terry points out, “Today, there are about 12 percent more people working part-time than before the recession and about 2 percent fewer people working full-time hours.”

But why?  Again, Terry:

Weak business conditions and the increase in the relative cost of full-time employees have been about equally important drivers of the increase in the use of part-time employees thus far. Thinking about the future, firms mostly cite an expected rise in the relative cost of full-time workers as the reason for shifting toward more part-time employees. So while there are some clear structural forces at work, a large amount of uncertainty around the future cost of health care and the future pace of economic growth also exists. The extent to which these factors will ultimately affect the share working part-time remains to be seen.

Follow James Pethokoukis on Twitter at @JimPethokoukisand AEIdeas at @AEIdeas.

2 thoughts on “Why are there still so many part-time workers?

  1. Hummm, what could have changed that would cause a relative increase in the cost of full-time (>28 hour) employees?

  2. Why is it necessarily a bad thing to work part time? IMaybe with Obama care people can now choose to be part time –as the CBO projected. But don’t mention that james, that would be honest.

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