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Issue 2: Patterns of Employment and Unemployment

Employment status can be viewed as a continuum from the positive pole of being employed in an adequate job to the negative pole of unemploy - ment. In between, situations of underemployment involve mismatches between individuals’ human capital, their expectations and preferences, and their job characteristics. Feldman (1996) considered five dimensions of underemployment depending on the type of mismatch: possessing more education than the job requires; having a job outside one’s area of formal training; possessing skills that are not utilized in the job; being involuntarily employed in a part-time, temporary, or intermittent job; and earning 20% less than in one’s previous job or than one’s peers. Both underemployment and unemployment constitute a loss of human capital for economic growth and inhibit individuals’ opportunities to fulfill their needs and expectations. Both phenomena are especially worrisome for young people, especially in the current difficult market conditions.