Underemployment in the UK revisited

Pub. Date
02 May, 2013
This paper addresses the issue of underemployment in the UK labour market – the demand for hours of work is less than workers’ willingness to supply extra hours. Workers would like to work more hours, but there is insufficient product demand to justify additional hours. This phenomenon has been evident in the UK labour market for some time, but has grown significantly during the Great Recession. In this paper, we develop a new index of underemployment which is intended to combine indicators of excess capacity on the extensive (jobs) and intensive (hours) margins of the labour market. This index continued to increase during 2012, though unemployment was stable. The paper also investigates the microeconomic determinants of underemployment, finding that it is particularly prevalent among the young and unqualified.