Lonnie Golden, associate professor of economics at Penn State's Abington Campus in greater Philadelphia, said empowering the 7 percent of workers who claimed in a 2001 U.S. Current Population Survey that they would like to cut back on their hours and income to do so, might create some work and income for the 23 percent of the work force that is underemployed—those who would like more work and income—as well as the unemployed. It would also free up time for the overemployed to pursue endeavors other than work, which could lead to improved work-life balance and quality of life.
"The unemployment rate is under 5 percent now, which is pretty good. However, if 7 percent of the workforce feels as if they are working more hours than they would like, and some folks have no jobs or are seeking more work hours, then something is not functioning as well as it could in the labor market," he said. "It would benefit all employees if they could work closer to the amount of hours they desire, and in the long run, it would likely be beneficial for employers as well, in terms of greater efficiency and employee retention."
The 7 percent overemployment figure varies greatly among different industries, though the overall figure remains virtually unchanged compared to when last measured by the Labor Department in 1985.
For example, employees in the utilities and sanitary services industries and in hospitals were among those reporting the highest levels of overemployment, with each at 11 percent. At the other end of the spectrum are industries such as construction, with overemployment rates around 4 percent but very high rates of underemployment.
Golden and co-author Tesfayi Gebreselassie, former Penn State graduate economics student, will publish their findings in "Overemployment and Underemployment Mismatches in the U.S. Work Force: The Preference to Exchange Income for Fewer Work Hours," in the U.S. Department of Labor's Monthly Labor Review in April.
Workers in jobs that demand more than a typical 40-hour and especially 50-hour work weeks are more likely to feel overemployed, whereas those employed in industries where work is more seasonal or dependent on external factors are more likely to seek additional hours, the authors note.
Gender was also a factor, as 10.1 percent of women claimed a desire to cut back on work time even for less pay, nearly double the 5.6 percent of men seeking less time at work. Golden noted that part of this may be dependent on family characteristics. Women with newborns, for example, may feel like they need to spend more time at home with their children, both for personal reasons and due to societal expectations.
"People in certain stages of their life cycle have different preferences and constraints when it comes to work hours, non-work time and income needs," he said. "People with young children are more likely to want to spend more time at home than those who are unmarried and who don't have children. On the other hand, men who strongly identify with the societal expectations of 'men as providers' are more likely to express a need for hours, especially as their children get older."
David Jwanier | EurekAlert!
Preferential trade agreements enhance global trade at the expense of its resilience
17.02.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
How Strong Brands Translate into Money
15.11.2016 | Kühne Logistics University - Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News