Despite greater expenses for most Americans, a growing number of workers are reducing their work hours and focusing on part-time employment.
- Around 27 million U.S. people work fewer than 35 hours a week. More than half of those people, about 60%, are women, Forbes reports.
- Part-time workers have several reasons for not pursuing full-time opportunities. Some are burned out following extra stress during the pandemic, others are pumping the brakes after being worn down by hustle culture, and some are taking time to care for children or sick relatives.
- Still, nearly 65% of respondents in a Gartner survey said that the pandemic made them reevaluate their work life.
- In dual-income households, one partner working full-time and the other working part-time is especially common.
- In December and January, the number of part-time workers grew by more than 1 million workers. Nearly 857,000 of these new part-time workers chose to work part-time voluntarily, Forbes reports.
Why it’s news
The labor force is changing as gloomy economic conditions shift worker behavior and the aftershocks of the pandemic redirect employee priorities. Part-time work is growing partly out of necessity and partly from desire.
As layoffs continue to rock the tech industry, professionals could be forced to accept part-time positions as they wait for a full-time position to open up. In addition to mass layoffs, many companies have paused hiring, leaving fewer full-time positions open to job seekers.
Of the more than 20 million people working part-time, the Labor Department classified 4.1 million as “employed part-time for economic reasons,” meaning they could not find full-time work or their hours were reduced.
Some of these workers are older employees reentering the workforce after the pandemic. Many older workers stopped working during the height of the pandemic, hoping to avoid getting sick. Others retired after favorable economic conditions led to their investments growing. Now that the economy has reversed, some of these workers find themselves needing to return to the workforce.
Seasonal and typically part-time positions are also in high demand. Restaurant, travel, and hospitality industries are just a few of the sectors aggressively hiring. These roles are often seasonal, with businesses hiring extra help during busier seasons. The food and beverage industry, in particular, has been hiring rapidly, with almost 100,000 new hires since September, Forbes reports.