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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

Guests

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.”

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