In this brief, author Rebecca Glauber reports that, although unemployment overall has returned to its pre-recession level, involuntary part-time employment is still much higher than it was before the Great Recession began--a trend that raises questions about the continuing ability of the economy to deliver employment security to people willing and able to work. Involuntary part-time employment is down 34 percent since the Great Recession but is still above its pre-recession level. If the involuntary part-time employment rate continues this pace of decline, it will not return to its pre-recession level until 2018, a full nine years after the official end of the recession. Racial disparities persist. Since the recession, involuntary part-time employment declined by over 30 percent for white, Asian, and Hispanic workers but by less than 20 percent for black workers. Among workers with less than a high school degree, 9 percent work part time involuntarily, compared to just 2 percent of college graduates. Involuntary part-time workers are more than five times as likely as full-time workers to live in poverty. As the economy continues to recover, Glauber recommends that the complexities of involuntary part-time employment and disparities in the recovery are explored.

Publication Date

Spring 3-28-2017


National Issue Brief No. 116


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2017. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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