Wall Street Journal (11/12/14) Nick Timiraos
Although the unemployment rate has declined, close to seven million Americans continue to work part-time jobs they do not want because they cannot find full-time employment. These workers often express frustration that their hours are being cut even though their employers are hiring. Economists are concerned that the higher level of part-time employment will become a permanent legacy of the Great Recession, forcing workers to choose between underemployment or working multiple jobs, which will put a damper on income growth and discretionary spending.
Some economists attribute the higher levels of part-time work to economic uncertainty and structural factors such as higher labor costs related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Others believe the trend is cyclical, because companies are not paying part-time workers more than full-time workers, which would be a clear indication of a shift in hiring preferences.
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