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Part-time workers mask job losses

John Dimsdale Nov 24, 2008
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Part-time workers mask job losses

John Dimsdale Nov 24, 2008
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Steve Chiotakis: While we keep hearing about layoffs or hours and benefits cut, it’s hard to imagine an uptick in one big labor statistic. Part-time jobs are on the rise, and it’s a bell-weather of a sour economy as Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 6.1-million Americans are stuck in part-time jobs even though they would prefer full-time work. That’s a 30 percent increase from a year earlier.

Former Labor Department economist Harry Holzer says underemployed people mask the real rate of joblessness.

Harry Holzer: This is one of the categories that we often call the hidden unemployed. That really means that the official numbers aren’t telling you how bad things are getting.

Holzer says official unemployment numbers also don’t count those who’ve given up looking for work.

But Michael Erwin, a career adviser for CareerBuilder.com says part-time work is at least a foot in the door:

Michael Erwin: When the economy swings the other way, you’re really going to take a look at employees who did everything they could after they were laid off or after they were let go. So I think it’s an important time to make sure that you’re still putting something on your resume.

Economist Holzer says under-employed workers are a wasted economic resource.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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