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Working It

A surge in part-time workers can pay off for your business.

This story appears in the December 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Good news for entrepreneurs who need help but aren't readyto hire : The number of people working part timeis going up. From January to July 2004, the ranks of part-timeworkers grew from 24.3 million to 25.5 million, according to theBureau of Statistics (BLS). And from June to July 2004, therewas an increase in workers who were working part-time because theywanted to, not because they couldn't find full-time work, saysBLS economist Marisa DiNatale. "The number of people workingpart time for economic reasons was actually down for [July2004]," she says.

John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger,Gray & Christmas, notes that 1.7 million part-timers hold twoor more part-time jobs, up from 1.6 million a year ago. Suchworkers may be harder to convert to full-timers, since they likethe diversity of different jobs. That's one benefit of hiringpart-timers. "Look at part-timers as an opportunity to conductan extended interview, later fighting to keep the topperformers," he says.

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