3 posts from July 2015

Part-time work and education: School pays off

If you want to work full-time, stay in school. That’s one message from Current Population Survey job data.

CPS figures show that the rate of part-time work for those with a bachelor’s degree is significantly lower than for those with a high school diploma or even some college (see Chart 1). Of course, not everyone works part-time because full-time jobs are not available, including among those with less education. But those with more education are working part-time less often for economic reasons—what the CPS considers “involuntary” part-time (see Chart 2).

But during and shortly after the recession, the rate of involuntary part-time work rose notably for all three groups. In fact, the growth rate was highest among those with a bachelor’s degree, for whom involuntary part-time work more than doubled between March 2008 and March 2010. Rates for all three have fallen steadily since then, but remain elevated. The rate for those with some college education is the closest of the three to prerecession levels.

This is the last of four looks at part-time job trends in Ninth District states. For previous posts, see here, here and here. For an in-depth look at Ninth District job growth since the recession, watch for the upcoming July issue of the fedgazette.

Part-time EDUCATION Ch1-2 -- 7-17-15

Job vacancies climb at nursing homes

Nursing homes have long struggled to hire and retain workers for a number of reasons.

For example, tending to the chronically ill or the very old can be physically and emotionally demanding. And pay is often modest, due in part to comparatively low Medicaid reimbursement for the care of low-income residents. In some cases state law contributes to low wages; in Minnesota and North Dakota, for example, residents who pay for their own care are charged the same rates as those paid by Medicaid.

Recovery from the Great Recession has made maintaining a stable workforce even harder for nursing homes. A recent survey sponsored by Care Providers of Minnesota and LeadingAge Minnesota, associations representing providers of housing and other services to the elderly and disabled, found that health care job vacancy rates in Minnesota nursing homes increased from 2013 to 2014 (see chart). Total health care job vacancies in the state’s nursing homes rose 51 percent over that period.

Nursing home job vacancies 6-30-15

Employee turnover also increased in the survey; annual turnover of registered nurses at nursing homes increased nine percentage points, to 47 percent.

Nursing homes have difficulty competing with other health care employers that pay higher wages, said Patti Cullen, CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota. “Right now registered nurses are being stolen away from nursing homes because they can earn $35,000 a year more” in hospitals, she said. Also, hospitals and clinics often offer better working conditions and career prospects.

Sources in Wisconsin and the Dakotas also said nursing homes were scrambling to hire and hold onto workers. Many operators have turned to “travel nurses”—workers provided by medical staffing agencies for temporary assignments—to fill vacancies.

Raising wages is one solution to the workforce crunch. Recent legislation in Minnesota and South Dakota increased Medicaid funding for nursing homes and assisted living facilities (which have also seen job vacancies jump) to help cover labor and other costs. But Cullen said that “we also need to move more people into the pipeline” to fill jobs not just in long-term care but elsewhere in health care, one of the district’s fastest growing industry sectors.

For much more on long-term care in the Ninth District, see the upcoming July issue of the fedgazette.

 

Part-time jobs: Many young workers, but shifting older

Looking at the age of workers tells some interesting stories when it comes to part-time jobs.

The rate of part-time work varies considerably by age. Close to half of those below the age of 25 work part time. For those 55 and over, the rate is about one-quarter, double the rate for those 25 to 54 years old, according to figures from the Current Population Survey.

During the recession, part-time work among those below the age of 25 dropped, the continuation of a longer-term decline in total employment among younger workers reaching back more than a decade (see here), and the likely outcome during the recession of “last in, first out” as employers kept those with more experience on the payroll (see Chart 1).

At the same time, the total number of part-time workers age 25 to 54 saw a noticeable rise during and shortly after the recession as more prime-age workers appeared to latch on to whatever work was available. And in contrast to both of these trends, the number of part-timers age 55 and over has risen steadily since 2007, the possible result (at least in part) of an increasing number of baby boomers entering this age group and a concomitant rise in the workforce participation rate among older workers.

As for those working part time for economic reasons—what the CPS considers “involuntary” part time—the younger you are the more likely you were to be working part time because you couldn’t find something better (see Chart 2). The rate for those under the age of 25 was particularly volatile, but even those in their prime working years saw the involuntary rate double from 2008 to 2010.

Involuntary part-time rates have been in retreat across the board in recent years, but also remain elevated compared with prerecession levels, particularly for the youngest workers. At the same time, total employment levels among these labor pools have been converging of late.

Look for future fedgazette Roundup blog posts on more part-time job trends in Ninth District states, as well as an in-depth look at Ninth District job growth since the recession in the July issue of the fedgazette.

  Part-time AGE Ch1-2 -- 7-8-15