Carsey report: Young workers hit hardest by underemployment

Underemployment has remained persistently high in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and workers younger than 30 are especially feeling the pinch, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

According to the report, "Underemployment in Urban and Rural America, 2005-2012," the rate of underemployment (or involuntary part-time work) doubled during the second year of the recession, reaching roughly 6.5 percent in 2009.The report found that, in March 2012, underemployment was slightly lower in rural areas (4.8 percent) than urban areas (5.3 percent). Before the recession, underemployment was slightly higher in rural America.

The report also found that workers under age 30, as well as women, black and Hispanic workers, experience higher levels of underemployment.

Likewise, underemployment is strongly linked with education, with the least educated workers experiencing higher rates of underemployment compared to more highly educated workers, the research found.

"While on the decline, these rates have yet to return to their pre-recession levels," said Justin Young, a research assistant at the Carsey Institute and author of the report. "Moreover, as the recession and other economic forces keeps older workers in the economy, openings for full-time jobs for younger workers might remain limited in the short term."

The complete Carsey Institute report about this research is available at


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