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The Changing Face of Temporary Employment

New York Times (08/31/14) Steven Greenhouse

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of workers employed through staffing firms has hit a new high of 2.87 million, accounting for about 2% of the nation’s workforce. Despite being five years into the economic recovery, employers continue adding temporary jobs instead of permanent positions. According to Steven Berchem, the American Staffing Association’s chief operating officer, “This is a reflection of business uncertainty, that businesses need to be more responsive, and part of that is keeping their workforce flexible.”

Berchem notes that while staffing employment has increased, “We still account for only 2% of the workforce.” Meanwhile, Berchem stresses that worker safety is a priority for staffing firms. Moreover, he cites an ASA survey indicating that 90% of temporary workers say temporary work makes them more employable, and 49% say it helped them get their foot in the door for a permanent job.