US joblessness stands at a moderate 5.5%, but more than 3.7 million workers have seen their hours cut from full-time to part-time over the last year, shrinking their paychecks even as gas and food prices soar, reports the New York Times. That's the highest figure in the half-century these cuts have been tracked by the government, bringing the total number of involuntary part-time workers to 5.3 million last month, some 3.7% of the workforce.
Among those losing hours over the last year, 73% were men and 35% were Hispanic.
“The change in working hours is the canary in the coal mine,” a University of Chicago employment expert tells the Times. “First you see hours get short, and eventually more people will get laid off.”