The Dangers of Underemployment in the United States

Patrick O’Halloran, Michaeline Skiba


Since the “Great Recession,” which started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009 (National
Bureau of Economic Research, 2010), the United States has experienced an unprecedented
sluggish economic recovery. Although the official unemployment rate has lowered in most
states over the last four years, a number of factors continue to exert a powerful impact on the
entire workforce; one of these factors being underemployment. This paper will define the
meaning of underemployment, explore the reasons why several constituents within both the
government and private sectors should be concerned about it, and offer recommendations for
easing underemployment’s grip on the nation’s future economic prosperity.

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