Full-Time and Part-Time Workers

A full-time worker, by definition in the CPS, is someone who works a 35 hour or more workweek. By necessity, a part-time worker is an individual who is employed but works fewer than 35 hours per week.

How to determine full-time or part-time status
Full-time or part-time status, as determined by the CPS, relies only on the number of hours worked in a given week. It is important to note that this calculation includes all jobs an individual works at the time of the survey. A few questions in the survey identify individuals as being full-time or part-time workers. The variable PRFTLF provides a simple distinction between full-time and part-time status. PRWKSTAT also provides this distinction and gives additional details about their full-time or part-time status, allowing researchers to distinguish between the different types of part-time employment.

Part time for economic reasons and part time for noneconomic reasons
For those individuals classified as part-time workers, there are two distinct subgroups. Part time for economic reasons, sometimes referred to as involuntary part time, refers to individuals who work fewer than full-time hours but would like to work full-time hours. The reasons preventing them from working full-time hours are either slack work or business conditions or that they were only able to find part-time work. Part time for noneconomic reasons, occasionally referred to as voluntary part time, refers to individuals who are working fewer hours than a full-time workweek, but are doing so based on personal reasons rather than business conditions.

PRWKSTAT is often used to separate part-time workers for economic and noneconomic reasons. However, the specific reasons for part-time work are found in the following set of variables: PEHRSSN1, PEHRSSN2, and PEHRSSN3. Additionally, a few questions in the CPS seek to ascertain if the reason an individual (who usually works full time) worked less than full-time hours during the reference week is due to a vacation or other break from work.