Stuck In Part-Time

A soaring number of Americans are stuck with part-time jobs. It’s keeping costs down for companies, but it’s crippling the Middle Class. We’ll dig in.

Time Card. (By TheGoogly/Flickr)

Time Card. (By TheGoogly/Flickr)

For millions of Americans, part-time work has become the new normal.  Some like it.  College students, maybe.  Some seniors, maybe.  Maybe others.  But an awful lot of part-time workers devoutly wish for full-time jobs – and can’t get them.

Part-time work is all over now. But of course it doesn’t pay like full-time.  It comes with far fewer, if any, benefits.  And part-time is harder than it used to be.  No regular schedule.  Hours all over the map.  Constantly changing.  And take it or leave it.  At poverty wages.

This hour, On Point:  we’re staring at today’s reality of part-time work.

-Tom Ashbrook


Steven Greenhouse, labor and workplace reporter for the New York Times. You can find his latest piece on part-time work here.

Susan Lambert, associate professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. You can find a recent op-ed on changes in the workplace here.

Carrie Gleason, executive director of the Retail Action Project.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “This has created an army of “underutilized labor.” America’s narrow unemployment rate is 7.9%, but it is 14.6% when accounting for involuntary part-time workers. The number of Americans working full time has declined by 5.9 million since September 2007, while the number working part time has jumped by 2.6 million.”

New York Times “While there have always been part-time workers, especially at restaurants and retailers, employers today rely on them far more than before as they seek to cut costs and align staffing to customer traffic. This trend has frustrated millions of Americans who want to work full-time, reducing their pay and benefits.”

Huffington Post “Two dozen workers at a Walmart-contracted warehouse in Southern California walked off the job Wednesday morning, calling on the companies that benefit from their work to improve conditions at the facility and to end what workers describe as retaliation for speaking out.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 30, 2015
United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, center left, Minister of the Environment of Peru and COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, center right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius, center, pose for photographers during a press visit to the COP21, Paris Climate Conference, site, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

World leaders converge in Paris for the big climate talks. We’ll look at what it will take to get a global climate agreement.

Nov 30, 2015
Shoppers walks in front of a holiday display Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond, we’ll add up the dollars and trends and bargains of the 2015 holiday shopping season.

Nov 27, 2015
The punk rock band Sleater-Kinney (from L: Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) (Courtesy the Band)

Feminist punk-rockers, the band Sleater-Kinney, is with us. Reunited. Hotter than ever.

Nov 27, 2015
Josh Baldonado, an administrative assistant at Brown & Brown Insurance, works at a treadmill desk in the firms offices in Carmel, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP)

The end of sitting at work. A new call to get up off our chairs. To stand and move! We’ll look at how that works.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »