Temp work becomes a fixture

Dec. 20, 2010 at 11:49 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. labor market has shifted toward a greater reliance on temporary workers, Labor Department data shows.

The department said the private sector added 50,000 jobs in November, but 80 percent of those were temporary positions.

From January through November, the economy has gained 307,000 temporary jobs out of 1,17 million new jobs for the year, The New York Times reported Monday.

The percentage of temporary is markedly higher than than patterns of hiring after previous recessions and could become a permanent part of the job market, experts said.

This year, 26.2 percent of new private sector are temporary, compared to 10.9 percent in the recovery after the 1990s recession and 7.1 percent in previous recoveries.

"With business confidence, particularly in the small business sector, extremely low, it's not surprising that permanent hiring is lagging behind," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Chief global economist at Decision Economics Allen Sinai said the move to temporary hiring, which often deprives workers of any benefits, "hints at a structural change."

Temporary jobs "are becoming an ever more important part of what is going on," he said.

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