Involuntary part-time work
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A minority of involuntary part-timers search for full-time work
In 2007, 679,000 or 4.0% of employed workers reported a preference for full-time work, but were working part time. These involuntary part-time workers made up almost a quarter of all part-timers. Less than a third of the involuntary part-timers looked for full-time work.
The vast majority of involuntary part-timers were youths and women aged 25 to 54. Both of these groups display seasonal patterns: the number of young involuntary part-timers increases during the summer months when full-time hours are preferred, while the number of adult female involuntary part-time workers peaks in the fall, when children return to school.
Involuntary part-time work rises and falls with the unemployment rate, an indication that people are forced into part-time work when economic conditions worsen. Since 1997, the share of involuntary part-timers has shrunk as the unemployment rate declined over the decade. In 2007, the unemployment rate attained a record low, as did the share of involuntary part-time workers. Involuntary part-time work is more common in the Atlantic provinces, where unemployment rates are above the national average.
Rate of involuntary part-time work,
by sex and age, 1997 and 2007
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, CANSIM tables 282-0002 and 282-0014.