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The Disturbing Rise of Part-Time Work in the U.S.


The trend has been growing...

U.S. unemployment in June was 7.6 percent, unchanged from May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

But perhaps more disturbing than the fact that unemployment remains stubbornly high is the explosion in the number of part-time jobs. In fact, according to the BLS report, roughly 28 million Americans work part-time gigs.

This is an all-time. And that’s not all.

“The report also showed another disturbing fact: There are now a record number of Americans with temporary jobs,” the Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow notes.

“Approximately 2.7 million, in fact. And the trend has been growing,” Schow adds.

The following graphic from the New York Times illustrates this growing trend. And, yes, the second-largest employer in the U.S. is a temp agency:


“In the first quarter of 2013, U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.86 million temporary and contract workers, or 2 percent of all non-farm employment in the United States,” the Washington Examiner notes, citing the American Staffing Association.

“This represents a 2.9 percent growth from the same period in 2012. For just the month of June, there was a 6.7 percent growth in the number of staffing jobs than last year,” the report adds.

During the financial meltdown of 2008, roughly 10 percent of the jobs lost were temp jobs, the Washington Examiner reminds us.

Furthermore, because temp jobs have a high turnover rate (employees tend to move on after three months), ASA calculates that one in 10 non-farm workers found employment through a staffing firm in 2012, the report adds.

"In fact, nearly one-fifth of all jobs gained since the recession ended have been temporary," Schow adds.

“While part-time and temp jobs reached highs last month, full-time jobs decreased by another 240,000. The recovery, or lack thereof, is being fueled by a shift from full-time to part-time work," she concludes.


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Featured image Getty Images.

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