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December 13, 2018 

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BULL MARKET: A condition of the stock market in which stock prices are generally rising and most of the participants expect this to continue. In other words, the stock market is into an extended period of "charging ahead" like a mad bull. A bull market usually occurs because investors see a healthy, vibrant, profitable economy on the horizon. Compare bear market.

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PART-TIME WORKERS:

People who are willing and able to work full-time (over 35 hours per week), but are forced to work less because employers do not need their productive efforts. While part-time workers officially have jobs, and are officially included in the "employed" category when the official unemployment rate is calculated, their labor resources are really only partially unemployed. A person working 20 hours a week, who is willing and able to work 40 hours a week, really should be considered as "half employed."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) makes a distinction between people who work part-time involuntarily for economic reasons and those who work part-time voluntarily for noneconomic reasons.
  • Economic reasons for working part time include the inability to find a full-time job or limited work load at an existing job due to unfavorable business conditions.

  • Noneconomic reasons for working part time include school, illness or medical problems, family or personal responsibilities, or retirement limits on earned income.
Only those working part-time for economic reasons represent underutilization of labor resources. They have excess labor resource capacity. Those working part-time for other reasons are actually working "full-time" in terms of their willingness and ability.

Peyton Patterson, a valued employee of the OmniMotors automobile manufacturing facility for several years, illustrates a part-time worker. A temporary downturn in OmniMotors sales has forced the company to reduce production by 20 percent. However, because they prefer NOT to lay off any of their workers (they expect business to pick up in a few months), they reduce the amount of time each employee works. Peyton has been putting in 40 hours per week and is willing and able to continue doing so. However, OmniMotors reduces his work effort to 32 hours per week, a 20 percent reduction. Peyton is employed part-time due to the economic conditions experienced by OmniMotors.

Part-time workers who do so for economic reasons illustrate a key problem with the official unemployment rate. It "counts heads," rather than "hours" or an alternative measure of labor resources. A hundred OmniMotors employees working 32 hours a week are the productive equivalent of 80 employees working 40 hours a week and 20 people being unemployed. However, while 20 percent of the people working NO-time would be included in the unemployment rate, ALL of the people working 80 percent-time would not.

(Note: To compensate for "counting heads," those who track economic conditions also keep an eye on the average work week, the average number of hours worked each week by employed persons. When more people are economically forced to work part time, the unemployment rate might not change, but the average work week does decline.)

Including part-time workers in the official unemployment rate would add two to three percentage points (such as boosting it from 5.0 percent to 8.0 percent). However, the number of part-time workers, and their impact on the unemployment rate, changes over the course of the business cycle.

  • During business-cycle expansions, when the economy is growing, jobs are aplenty, and finding employment is relatively easy, fewer people are forced to work part time. As such, including part-time workers in the unemployment rate would add maybe two percentage points.

  • During business-cycle contractions, when the economy is shrinking, jobs are few and far between, and finding employment is relatively hard, more people are forced to work part time. As such, including part-time workers to the official unemployment rate calculation would add more than three percentage points or more.

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Recommended Citation:

PART-TIME WORKERS, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: December 13, 2018].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | unemployment rate, measurement problems | discouraged workers | marginally-attached workers | alternative unemployment rates | Current Population Survey | Bureau of Labor Statistics | labor force | civilian labor force | employment rate | employment-population ratio | labor force participation rate | employed persons | unemployed persons | not in the labor force |


Or For A Little Background...

     | unemployment | unemployment rate | macroeconomic problems | macroeconomic goals | factors of production | full employment | business cycles | contraction | expansion |


And For Further Study...

     | unemployment sources | natural unemployment | unemployment problems | unemployment reasons | unemployment, production possibilities | full employment, production possibilities | macroeconomic sectors | Bureau of Labor Statistics | gross domestic product | macroeconomic markets | resource markets | inflation | stabilization policies | government functions | underground economy | business cycle indicators |


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