Slack work could lead to further unemployment in US

Get ready to hear more about “slack work” from the US. As the US market slows, employers are cutting hours for more workers below the 35 hour per week threshold because of slowing demand or “slack work”.

Reducing hours is enabling many companies to stave off layoffs and retain their skilled workers, reports The Wall Street Journal. It also saves employers the costs of the layoffs, including severance pay and retraining.

There are now 2.8 million people working part time in the US because of slowing business conditions in 2007, up 231,000 or 9% from 2006. This increase reverses a steady decline from 2003 to early 2006.

The increase in part-time work has also spooked analysts who say it could be a leading indicator for a further rise in unemployment, with many employers already cutting hours and now being on the brink of cutting jobs.


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