Paving the Way for Work

Part-Time Workers and Policies to Help Them

How can we spur job creation in America, particularly for part time workers? For older workers and some with child-care obligations, a part-time schedule can be an advantage. For others, there is need for full-time work and benefits. Millions of Americans are working fewer hours than they would like or need. Too many people are forced to take up part-time jobs because they are unable to find full-time work and many are too discouraged to even look for the work they and their families need.

The overall unemployment rate in America continues to fall below 5.5. However, the percentage of workers who are unemployed, discouraged, or employed only part-time is nearly double the official unemployment rate. Things are improving for part time and discouraged workers at a much slower pace than the statistics we often focus on would indicate. Workers continue to struggle to move from part time to full time work. This is a troubling situation that needs attention. It is important to figure out ways to move people not only out of unemployment, but into full-time jobs that meet their needs.

What makes part time workers unique? What does the data say are their greatest areas of need? Are there regulatory and tax changes that could help them? In what ways is part time work a blessing? Does the American labor force need to be rewired in order to promote job growth? Are there workforce system reforms which could make a difference? What must change to better support Americans stuck in involuntary part time work?

Join New America for a discussion on part-time jobs, social mobility, and the changing American workforce.

Follow the discussion online using #WayforWork and following @NewAmerica.


Hon. Erica Groshen
Commissioner of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Mary Alice McCarthy
Senior Policy Analyst, Higher Education Initiative, New America

Diana Furchtgott-Roth
Director of Economics21 and Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Author, Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young

Byron Auguste
Managing Director, Opportunity@Work, New America


David Gray
Senior Fellow, New America