Friday, October 15, 2010

Freelance Nation: The Temp Job Market is Booming



The overall job market might be struggling to recover from the recession, but there’s one sector of the labor market that’s doing quite well: temporary, freelance and contract employment.  Since September of last year, total private-sector employment has increased by 593,000 jobs (data here), and temporary jobs have accounted for 404,200 (or 68.2%) of that increase (data here), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (see chart above).  In other words, more than two out of every three jobs added by private employers in the last year have been temporary, freelance or contract workers. 

A front page USA Today story explains how this recent trend towards increased reliance on temporary and freelance workers is helping companies cope with a fragile recovery and oscillating demand, while at the same time offering workers the advantages of more flexibility and independence:   
Across the nation, many companies are shifting to a more flexible workforce populated by temporary workers, contractors and freelancers, loosening the bond between businesses and employees. The firms, aiming to become more nimble and cut costs, want to boost or cut staffing to meet fluctuating demand or deploy workers with specialized skills for short-term projects.

The expanding use of contract workers, in fact, is partly fueled by some Americans who see more flexibility, and even security, in such setups. Many young workers who saw their parents lose jobs the past couple of years "are taking on a free-agent mentality," says Steve Armstrong, general manager of U.S. operations for staffing firm Kelly Services. "They're saying, 'It's not the model I want to find myself in.' " Contract or freelance work, he says, can bolster job security by severing workers' ties to the fortunes of one company.
Read more here at The Enterprise Blog.

9 Comments:

At 10/15/2010 3:02 PM, OpenID cherubsrevenge said...

Awesome! A day laborer economy just like all the cool third world countries have.

 
At 10/15/2010 7:50 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

contract workers are not the same as temp workers.

everyone who works for us is contract, but they all prefer it. it lets them file taxes as sole proprietors which is very beneficial to them.

this has zero implications (at least at our firm) about compensation, benefits, and job security.

it's just a better tax situation.

hell, i'm a founder and still count myself as contract labor for precisely those reasons.

i's be very careful assuming that contract jobs are "temp" jobs.

 
At 10/16/2010 12:35 AM, OpenID brinker223 said...

@morganovich
I agree with you. I work in hi-tech and I can't tell how many people our contractors. The majority of the contractors could become company employees easily but choose not too. Also, typically, contract may not have all the benefits but it has a lot higher wage.

 
At 10/16/2010 4:24 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Time to make it cost more than permanent work, or at least not viable as a way to dodge the law. Do that, watch that number plummet.

 
At 10/16/2010 6:10 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Time to make it cost more than permanent work, or at least not viable as a way to dodge the law"...

LOL! So sethstorm's solution is to put everyone out of work when the owners of companies that need contract workers close up their tents and go home...

 
At 10/16/2010 9:23 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

brinker-

i deal with a lot of sili valley companies and tech folks, and your experience is pretty typical out here.

not only do people want the tax and cash comp advantages of being a contract employee, but in the start up world and rapidly changing tech, they want the flexibility. tech changes too much and too quickly for "job for life" guarantees to mean much.
today's hot company is tomorrow's roadkill. it makes good sense for workers to be rational and to move frequently.

this is the age of shopping your job and making diagonal moves up, not of having one boss for life.

 
At 10/16/2010 1:25 PM, Blogger Frank said...

I ran a TV repair business in the south for decades. Quickly discovered how many papers and permits I had to file for each worker, withholdings, unemployment insurance etc.

So, I fired them all and re-hired them as private contractors on a hourly and or commission basis.

What they did with the cash I gave them after they signed my receipt, was their business.

 
At 10/17/2010 9:29 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Juandos:
The only measurable demand that exists is employers trying fast and loose with employment. Frank is the one who decided to play shenanigans with employment, and thus should be denied that dodge. Contract labor is just another way to dodge risk while passing it to people who can ill afford to take that risk.

 
At 10/19/2010 6:34 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"The only measurable demand that exists is employers trying fast and loose with employment"...

Oh man! sethstorm there are NO rules that says a person has to expend his/her personal wealth just make sure some slug has a job with a paycheck attached...

"Contract labor is just another way to dodge risk while passing it to people who can ill afford to take that risk"...

So why should the employer carry the risk?

If those who can 'ill afford to take the risk' then maybe the employer is better off not hiring that particular incompetent in the first place...

People tend to get the contract their worth...

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home