Shift to Temp Workers Unlikely Temporary
(MarketWatch) — As companies remain wary about hiring in this tough economy, more are turning to temp workers. Using temps and other so-called “contingent workers” can help risk-averse firms save on benefit costs, and it’s easier to sever the employment relationship. Temporary-help services employment increased to about 2.3 million in March from a recent trough of about 1.7 million in mid-2009, according to the Labor Department. “We have large clients that have laid off hundreds, thousands of employees. They are now using a large chunk of temp workers, managing their labor needs in real time. It’s cost containment,” said Neil Alexander, co-chair of the contingent worker practice group at labor law firm Littler Mendelson. “This is the new face of labor,” he said. There could also be a longer-term trend at work, with increasing use of the Internet and the globalization of the labor market leading to a larger slice of the employment pie available to alternative workers, said Barry Asin, president of Staffing Industry Analysts, a research and consulting firm.