APO resource visit counts have been improved. For more information, see our Policies & Guidelines


Working by the hour: the economic consequences of unpredictable scheduling practices

6 Sep 2016

Many workers in the United States are at the mercy of unpredictable scheduling practices, often facilitated by new technologies where computer algorithms create employee schedules based on projected consumer demand. Unpredictable schedules can be found in many occupations but are most common in retail and service industries—the very industries in which workers also face a lack of benefits, poor working conditions, and insufficient pay. For many, unpredictable schedules are caused by “just-in-time” scheduling software, which seeks to match the correct number of workers with demand but wreaks havoc on workers who have no control over a schedule that changes from day-to-day, or even hour-to-hour. This issue brief examines the economic and legal context in which unpredictable scheduling became popular, and then looks at the consequences for individuals, firms, and the broader U.S. economy.

Publication Details
License Type: 
All Rights Reserved
Published year only: 
Subject Areas
Geographic Coverage