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Part Time Employment Situation In USA

Updated : September 15th, 2021

Generally, when we table a topic of discussion on employment, an important aspect that takes back seat is part time employment. There are millions in the country who have embraced part time jobs as a matter of choice & there are people, who are compelled to work part time, owing to job conditions. Therefore, it is important for us to treat part time employment on par with its full time counterpart and give it due credit and recognition.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), U.S Department of Labor, any worker who has been employed for less that 35 hours in a week, is considered to have worked part time. Let us interpret some key data on part time employment from the monthly news release titled “The Employment Situation” from the BLS. Part time workers are classified into the two categories that follow.

Part Time Workers for Economic Reasons

Workers who are otherwise employed on full time basis, but fall short of working the stipulated hours mainly due to business conditions such as

  • Slack work
  • General reduction in demand
  • Unfavorable business conditions
  • Seasonal decline in demand

Part Time Employment

In January 2014, the numbers of workers falling into this category was around 7,771 Million. Since then it has seen a steady decline over the months with falling unemployment rates. As of January 2015, the numbers of part time workers falling into this category were 6,810 Million, a 14% decline Year on year. This is positive news for an economy like the US, which is fast bouncing back to stability.

Part Time for Noneconomic Reasons

This category of workers consists of labor class who have voluntarily chosen to work part time due to personal reasons such as below. They work part time as a matter of choice owing to  personal commitments that stops them from pursuing a full time job.

  • Childcare problems
  • Family commitment
  • Retired and or earning social security
  • Schooling or training
  • Health issues

The number of part time workers for non economic reasons was 19,473 Million in January 2014 and has firmly climbed to stand at 19,822 in the same month this year. This figure does not have grave impact on the unemployment situation in the country since its a deliberate decision to work part time.

States such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska &  New Jersey which have consistently performed to stay on top of ranks for having the lowest unemployment rates in the country, seem to be trending in terms of part time job searches.

Unemployment Compensation for Part Time Workers

If you belong to the former category of workers who are compelled to work part time due to non economic reasons like deliberation of the employer, you can be eligible to claim unemployment benefits in your state. If you were meant to be working full time, the hours are reduced or working only part time(wish to be employed full time), apply for unemployment in your state.

It provides you monetary support for the lost hours in a week. If reasons for part time work is anything other than voluntary, you can qualify to receive weekly compensation.

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