Being underemployed may be the new way of doing business in America. It allows companies to hire workers for only the hours they're needed, and to pay them an hourly rate without providing benefits, while keeping people in the work force -- at least partially. It's better than being unemployed.
Before I was laid off two years ago, I had never heard of the term "underemployed." Being unemployed was a first for me, but it wasn't an unheard-of term. Now, with the recession continuing and the national unemployment rate at a 26-year high of 9.7 percent in August for nearly 15 million Americans, the underemployment rate is at 16.8 percent for 9 million more people.