Role of temporary workers in American economy

Temporary employment had become one of the strongest factors in the growth of the American economy. Across America, temporary work has become one of the mainstays of the economy leading to the growth of the temporary or “temp towns” that are teaming up with temporary staffing agencies. The Labor Department during the previous month has shown that the United States had more temporary workers than ever before amounting to about 2.7 million workers. Overall 1/5th of the total job growth since the recession ended in mid 2009 has been in the temporary sector.

The American Staffing Association or ASA further states that the pool of temporary workers is very large with about one-tenth of the U.S workers finding jobs at a staffing agency. The proportion of temporary workers within the labor force reached its highest levels in early 2000 well before the 2001 slump that followed by Great Recession. With the economy continuing with its slow and uneven recovery, temporary work is showing an uptrend, which is ten times faster than the private sector employment that exceeds the temporary job hype of 1990’s. The surge in temporary work is mostly seen in blue-collar work in factories, warehouses with more than one in every 20 blue-collar workers being temporary.

Several temporary staffing agencies like Manpower and Adecco are now rated as the largest employers in the United States. Kelly Staffing Services was placed as the second largest employer next only to Wal-Mart for employing about 538,000 workers during 2010. The temporary system of employment is insulating the host companies from worker’s compensation claims, unemployment taxes, trade unions and the duty to ensure that the temporary workers are legal immigrants or citizens. The down turn or downside of temporary working environment is that the temporary workers suffer from high injury rates and majority of these temporary workers had to brave out hours of unpaid work waiting and face fees that depresses their pay below minimum wage.

It is observed that in spite of the soaring market and steady economic growth majority of workers are returning to temporary or part-time jobs. On an average, the temporary employees/ workers earn about 25% less than their permanent workers/employees do. The temporary workers do not get benefits as enjoyed by permanent employees and have little opportunity for advancement. Thus, it can be said that temporary workers are playing important role in the overall growth of American economy.