The Rise of Part-Time Employment

48 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016 Last revised: 22 Jul 2016

See all articles by Daniel Borowczyk-Martins

Daniel Borowczyk-Martins

Copenhagen Business School

Etienne Lalé

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) - Université du Québec à Montréal; CIRANO; IZA

Date Written: July 1, 2016


We address methodological breaks in data collection on part-time employment to construct new monthly time series of U.S. stocks and flows spanning the period from 1976 onwards. Using these data, we document that part-time employment plays an increasingly important role in shaping the functioning of the U.S. labor market, both in normal times and during recessions. Specifically, we find an upward secular trend in turnover between full-time and part-time employment, and a large cyclical component chiefly explained by fluctuations in involuntary part-time work. We show that these patterns cannot be uncovered without splitting employment into finer categories because both short-run and long-run reallocations along this margin occur mostly without an intervening spell of non-employment. We emphasize the importance of our findings for several active debates, such as the slowdown in U.S. labor-market dynamism, changes in job stability and security, and the assessment of labor-market slack.

Keywords: Employment, Part-Time Work, Labor Market Flows, Secular Trends, Business Cycles

JEL Classification: E24, E32, J21

Suggested Citation

Borowczyk-Martins, Daniel and Lalé, Etienne, The Rise of Part-Time Employment (July 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Daniel Borowczyk-Martins

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000

Etienne Lalé (Contact Author)

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) - Université du Québec à Montréal ( email )

CP 8888 Succ Centre Ville
Montréal, Québec H3C3P8

CIRANO ( email )

2020 rue University, 25th floor
Montreal H3C 3J7, Quebec

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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