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Part Time Jobs Are Up

Updated: Apr 18

Employees seeking part time jobs are at its highest levels of all time. In this newsletter we are breaking down the cause for the increase, what this does to the labor market and what employers need to know.


"The job market may be cooling, but working part time is still hot. A record number of Americans are choosing to work part time, including stay-at-homemothersteens, retirees seeking extra cash to cope with inflation and employees who burned out on their full-time jobs while covering for missing colleagues during COVID-19.

After the pandemic, “people did some sort of reconsideration,” says Lonnie Golden, a professor of economics and labor and Penn State University who studies work schedules and workplace flexibility. “They just don’t want to overwork.” In December, 22 million Americans chose to work part time, an all-time high, Labor Department figures show. That’s 13.9% of all workers, the largest share since February 2020 and among the highest over the past two decades. Though many are working for companies, others are working as gig or contract workers or have their own businesses. Learn more


"Let's take a closer look at the latest employment report numbers on full- and part-time employment. Buried near the bottom of table A-9 of the government's employment situation summary are the numbers for full- and part-time workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly current population survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs. The Labor Department has been collecting this since 1968, a time when only 13.5% of US employees were part-timers. That number peaked at 20.1% in January 2010. Almost fifteen years later, the total part-time workers has fallen to 17.7%.

Here is a visualization of the trend in the 21st century, with the percentage of full-time employed on the left axis and the part-time employed on the right. We see a conspicuous crossover during the Great Recession. Since early 2016, the two cohorts have slowly drifted apart, with full-time employment gaining. Interestingly, this trend continued even during the COVID global pandemic and recession. As of March 2024, full-time employment made up 82.3% of all employment, its lowest level since April 2018. Learn more

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