In this section, I use data on part-time employment in the Current Population Survey (CPS) to highlight several facts about part-time work.
- Part-time for economic reasons is volatile and countercyclical, and co-moves with unemployment.
- Part-time for economic reasons is not persistent, and is characterized by high flow probabilities back to full-time employment and to unemployment.
- Fluctuations in part-time employment arise largely from within-employment (to and from F T or P T N) instead of between P T E and non-employment (unemployment, U or nonparticipation, N ). Further, part-time employment transitions primarily occur within job rather than from job-to-job transitions.
These facts are important for understanding the mechanism through which cyclical movements in P T E arise. Particularly, I make the case that these fluctuations in parttime employment for economic reasons are driven primarily by firm-level demand or “slack work and business conditions” as opposed to coming from workers’ search and job-finding behavior (“failure to find a full-time job”).