Work-hour volatility by the numbers: How do workers fare in the wake of the pandemic?
Economic lives have become fluid in the United States during recent decades, with individuals and families facing income instability often driven by unstable or insufficient work hours. This volatility threatens the security of low-income workers. The current economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to examine these issues and investigate who is benefiting—and who is not. This brief looks at work-hour volatility over a period of 2016 to 2022 by a variety of factors, including wage level, parental status, race and ethnicity, educational attainment, and age, and demonstrates that greater volatility is marked among low-wage, less-educated, and young workers. While results suggest a possible return to prepandemic conditions, where gaps in volatility among these groups were narrowing, the extent to which these gains will be sustained as economic recovery continues remains to be seen.