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The Perma-Temp Future

The past couple of days I have found a couple of related articles during my daily job and news searches. Now, since many members of the TradMed seem to be willfully obtuse on a lot of issues, I very much doubt if they will draw the same linkage to things that I draw. But contrary to much reporting, things really do not happen in a vacuum.

To start with, there was this article from the Kansas City Star (via McClatchy).

In a CareerBuilder survey released Wednesday, 34 percent of hiring managers said they’ll hire contract or temporary workers next year, up from 30 percent this year and 28 percent in 2009.

Research by The Human Capital Institute indicates that one-third of the U.S. work force is now composed of non-traditional “contract” workers, sometimes referred to as freelancers, free agents, contingent workers or temps.

The institute says the pool of these workers, who often are part-time, is growing at more than twice the rate of the full-time work force.

A quick check of der Google shows that articles on the Perma-Temp trend have been coming out for almost two years now. The NY Times hit it a week and a half ago (which I incorporated into this post), the AP (via USA Today) hit it last February, Bloomberg (via MSNBC) last January, and the Wall Street Journal back in February of ’09. Of course the WSJ sees it as a positive although I think their original spin has proven to be a bit too optimistic:

One bright spot of Friday’s gloomy jobs report was the surge in temporary hires. Companies are hiring more temps with plans to convert them into full-time workers if economic conditions improve.

Temporary help services added 44,000 jobs since July, including 34,000 last month, according to the Labor Department. That’s the exact same number of temp jobs lost between January 2008 and July 2009.

The related article is from today’s (1/1/11) NY Times. Apparently many of the people who have lost employment during the Great Recession are “changing careers.”  [cont’d]

A new study of American workers displaced by the recession sheds light on the sacrifices a large number have made to find work. Many, it turns out, had to switch careers and significantly reduce their living standards.

“In many cases, these people are not very happy,” said Cliff Zukin, professor of public policy and political science at Rutgers University and one of the authors of the study. “They’re the winners who got new jobs, but they’re not really what they want, and not where they want to be.”

The study, conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, was based on a survey of Americans around the country who were unemployed as of August 2009 and re-interviewed about their job status twice over the next 15 months.

This does seem to put the lie to the pundits who like to claim that the long-term un- and underemployed are too picky about work, unwilling to accept a lesser position and using Unemployment Insurance as a “free vacation.” But then, most of us who have dealt with the long-term un- and underemployment in our own lives already knew this.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just a Small Town Country Boy

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Small town Kentucky country boy lived all over the country. Currently in Ruskin, FL