Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Employed only part-time when one needs and desires full-time employment.
  • adj. Inadequately employed, especially employed at a low-paying job that requires less skill or training than one possesses.
  • adj. Not fully or adequately used or employed.
  • n. Underemployed persons considered as a group. Used with the.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Employed in a job for which one is overqualified; or employed in a job that does not pay as much as one wants or expects.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. employed only part-time when one needs full-time employment or not making full use of your skills

Etymologies

under- +‎ employed. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • We are seeing more clients that have what we call underemployed, where they may be holding multiple jobs to make ends meet or maybe that they are not getting a full 40 hours a week, so they are looking for something better.

    CNN Transcript Dec 26, 2009

  • We're seeing more clients that have -- what we call underemployed, where they may be holding multiple jobs to make ends meet.

    CNN Transcript Nov 28, 2009

  • I see a lot of that in underemployed poorly educated white trash ….

    Think Progress » Pentagon Shooter Was Right-Wing, Anti-Government Terrorist

  • As someone who has had direct experience with layoffs, I can tell you for sure that being slightly underemployed is WAY better than being unemployed.

    Matthew Yglesias » Time to Invest in Netflix Stock

  • Worse still, is the level of the "underemployed" -- those who are working at McDonald's but hoping to replace that job they had at a company that paid their mortgage and car payments, that are now being paid out of savings erosion.

    Dawn's early Light - A Townhall.com user blog

  • Adding people who are working part-time but would prefer full-time jobs, nearly 27 million are "underemployed" - 17.1 percent of American adults, up from 16.7 percent in August and close to a record.

    The Guardian World News

  • Adding those people plus others who are working part time but would prefer full-time jobs, nearly 27 million are "underemployed" - 17.1 percent of American adults, up from 16.7 percent in August and close to a record.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Taylor has joined the burgeoning ranks of the "underemployed" - the 8.9 million Americans who would prefer full-time jobs but must make do with part-time work.

    The Memphis Daily News

  • Durham said the July figure also doesn't account for what he terms the "underemployed" - those people who have been laid off but found a replacement job that pays less, or workers facing layoff who opted for retirement.

    The Times-Journal: News

  • HUNTINGTON: Bernstein points out that the percentage of so - called underemployed American workers is the highest in more than seven years, above 10 percent.

    CNN Transcript May 6, 2003

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