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Temporary Jobs Are Not the New Norm

U.S. News & World Report (02/28/12) Heidi Shierholz

Heidi Shierholz, economist at the Economic Policy Institute, says the economic recovery has boosted growth in the temporary help services industry, but she says temporary jobs account for fewer jobs now than before the recession. The industry has added more than 650,000 jobs since the recession ended in mid-2009, but it eliminated more than 900,000 jobs from mid-2006 to mid-2009.

Employment in temporary help agencies began to decrease in the fall of 2006, more than a year before overall employment began to decline. However, the industry began to see growth in September 2009, several months before the overall labor market began adding jobs. Temporary help services jobs accounted for 1.9% of all jobs in 2006, falling to 1.3% by the summer of 2009. The figure currently stands at 1.8%, which is lower than its prerecession level.