More people have been forced to work part-time in this economy and that’s not going to change

Unemployment and part time work

Part-time work is here to stay.

The Federal Reserve of San Francisco released a paper Monday showing that while the number of workers who have been forced into part-time jobs for economic conditions is shrinking, it is still elevated compared to unemployment.

Rob Valletta and Catherine Van der List at the San Francisco Fed wrote that after the past two recessions when unemployment dropped to the current level, part-time work for economic reasons was 3.2%.

It is currently 4.2%.

This suggests that there have been structural shifts, not just cyclical ones, that are keeping the number high.

Valletta and Van der List identify changes such as more service-industry employment, the ageing of the workforce and higher wages for hourly employees. They also note that the requirement that full-time workers must be provided with health insurance did not impact the number of involuntary part-time workers.

In the analysis, the economists did reiterate that business cycle changes still are the predominant reason for involuntary part-time work, but the higher level suggests longer-term upward shifts of 1 to 1.25% to the number.

Reasons for part time work

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