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Part-time workers are those working fewer than 35 hours per week. Of the 113 million wage and salary workers in the labor force, only 17 percent are classified as part time. Four of five part-time workers choose to work part-time rather than full-time. The 3.8 million involuntary part-time workers constitute only 3.4 percent of the work force. Part-time employment is not on the rise. Most part-time workers are not responsible for supporting a family because they are members of families with two or more workers. Seven in 10 part-time workers have family incomes of more than twice the poverty level, and 1 in 3 have family incomes exceeding four times the poverty level. The racial and ethnic breakdown of the part-time work force closely resembles that of the entire labor force. Part-time work is concentrated within three demographic groups--teenagers, senior citizens, and females. More than one-third of all part-time workers are employed in the retail trade sector of the economy, where an uneven workflow creates rush hours when more employees are needed for short periods of time. One-third work in other service occupations where job structure necessitates hiring part-time workers. In many instances, part-time workers are not doing the same job as full-time workers, and, therefore wage-rate comparisons based on number of hours worked are meaningless. Seventy-four percent are covered by health insurance. The majority work for small businesses. (YLB)

Descriptors: Adolescents, Adult Education, Career Choice, Employment Patterns, Family Income, Females, Older Adults, Part Time Employment, Racial Differences, Salary Wage Differentials, Working Hours

Autor: Employment Policies Inst., Washington, DC.


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