According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more and more young adults are taking part-time rather than full-time jobs. While the number of young adults age 20-24 has increased by 6.78% over the past four years, full-time employment has plunged by 17.1%. In contrast, part-time employment for young adults has increased by 37.2% over the past four years. Put somewhat differently, in May of 2008 71.7% of employed young adults had full-time jobs. In just four years the fraction of employed young adults with full-time jobs is 60.4%.
It’s not clear what has caused this sharp shift from full-time to part-time work for young adults. One possibility, that requires further investigation, is that college and junior college students are delaying their graduation because they face such a weak labor market after graduation. These students may be staying in school, taking a few more courses while working part-time jobs, rather than starting their post-college careers.