Marginal employment stands as a major obstacle to the economic health of American families and communities. This is particularly true among those who work in extractive industries. We conceptualize marginal employment as underemployment, which goes beyond unemployment to include discouraged workers, involuntary part-time workers, and the working poor. Analyzing data from the March Current Population Survey from 1974 through 1998, we find that workers in extractive industries face far higher rates of underemployment than do those employed in other major industrial sectors. However, this aggregation masks great intracategory heterogeneity. The high rates of underemployment observed in extractive industries are largely a driven by the disadvantages of those employed in agriculture and forestry/fishing. In contrast, those employed in mining enjoy substantially lower rates of underemployment. The relative employment circumstances found in each industry are only partly explained by conventional predictors of underemployment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science