Part Time Work and Bankruptcy

There’s good news and there’s bad news on the employment front.  The good news is that the unemployment rate fell slightly from 10.2 percent to 10 percent.  The bad news is that many of those workers who are no longer counted amongst the unemployed have either given up looking for work or found jobs that are part-time or temporary.

The average work week rose to 33.2 hours, from a record low of 33 hours…Temporary help services added 52,000 jobs, the fourth straight increase.

I don’t know about you but the last I checked, the average American needed to work at least 40 hours a week just to pay the bills.  Temporary and quasi-full-time jobs just don’t pay the bills.  And while our economists and legislators play “feel good” games with semantics and statistics, most unemployed and underemployed Americans are struggling just to avoid foreclosure and bankruptcy.  Here’s the reality of our current job situation:

  1. Temporary workers who are working less hours and making less per hour are finding it difficult to pay their bills.  They are late on their credit card payments, mortgage and even cutting off certain utilities to get by.  Those people aren’t able to sustain that type of “penny pinching” for long and many of them end up filing bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy becomes their final solution.
  2. Temporary workers are not receiving full-time stable employment, which puts them in the underemployed category.  It is nearly impossible to pay bills when you are working some of the time-on a good day.  Their bills are not temporary.  These temporary workers have the same financial responsibilities as their full-time brethren.  If they are forced to work as temp workers for too long they may be forced to file bankruptcy.
  3. Filing bankruptcy eventually becomes the only choice for temp and part-time workers who have been underemployed for a long time.  Bankruptcy is often the only legal solution for putting their expenses in line with their new income.  Without bankruptcy, many temporary and part-time workers would be inundated with aggressive creditor lawsuits, wage garnishments and bank seizures.

If we continue to see a rise in the number of temporary and part-time workers, we may eventually see a rise in bankruptcy filings as American workers search for a solution to their financial woes.