Tags: temp | workers | full-time | perma

Voice of America: It's Becoming a 'Perma-Temp' World

By John Morgan   |   Monday, 28 Oct 2013 09:27 AM

The United States supports a growing "perma-temp" economy, as nearly one third of workers have less than full-time jobs, according to Voice of America (VOA).

Most of the temporary jobs offer no job security, benefits or retirement plan, the VOA said.

The Freelancers Union described denizens of the perma-temp economy as those who are working part time, are freelancing, those who toil in a temporary or project-based job or those in long-term temporary assignments.

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The Harvard Business Review described perma temps as the fastest-growing segment of the American job market.

Peter Capelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, said the trend can actually be traced to the 1980s.

"Companies don't know for sure these days whether demand will be up or down, or how long projects will last," Capelli told VOA.

"It used to be that they carried workers in the life-time employment arrangements. When business went down, they kept them around. Now they don't."

The VOA reported the perma-temp segment is expected to increase further in part because of a provision in Obamacare that requires companies with more than 50 workers to offer health insurance to those working 30 hours or more per week.

By keeping worker time under 30 hours, those companies can hold down their group health insurance costs.

Harry Zupnick, an information technology specialist in New York, told VOA he has been snared in on-and-off temporary jobs since getting laid off from a large telecom company in 2007.

Zupnick said companies feel pressure to hire temps instead of full-time employees in order to show profit growth to investors.

"They're justifying it by the bottom line, by the fact that they're looking at short-term measurable financial results, and not at long-term value creation. There are intense pressures from Wall Street to perform and to perform now," he told VOA.

Revenue for the U.S. temporary staffing industry is projected to reach $139.4 billion in 2014, Investing Daily reported.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates temps accounted for 70.6 percent of the nation's new jobs generated so far in 2013, compared with 29.4 percent for full-time jobs.

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Related Stories:

ProPublica: Some Temporary Workers Are the New Serfs

Temporary Staffing Booming, Outpacing Increase in Permanent Jobs

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