Tyler Cowen points to this NY Times article about the increase in temporary hiring in the post-recession recovery:
"This year, companies have hired temporary workers in significant numbers. In November, they accounted for 80 percent of the 50,000 jobs added by private sector employers, according to the Labor Department. Since the beginning of the year, employers have added a net 307,000 temporary workers, more than a quarter of the 1.17 million private sector jobs added in total."
This is "raising concerns among workers and some labor experts that temporary employees will become a larger, more entrenched part of the work force. This is bad news for the nation’s workers, who are already facing one of the bleakest labor markets in recent history. Temporary employees generally receive fewer benefits or none at all, and have virtually no job security. It is harder for them to save. And it is much more difficult for them to develop a career arc while hopping from boss to boss."
Temporary employees still make up a small fraction of total employees, but that segment has been rising steeply over the past year. “It hints at a structural change,” said Allen L. Sinai, chief global economist at the consulting firm Decision Economics. Temp workers “are becoming an ever more important part of what is going on,” he said."
1. An increase in contract, freelance or temporary employment is not necessarily "bad news" for U.S. workers. That type of work can actually enhance job security for some workers in the long run, because their careers and livelihood are not dependent on a single corporation or company.
2. The chart above displays temporary employment workers as a share of all private sector jobs back to January 2000, and shows a normal cyclical pattern that does not reflect any "structural changes" in the labor market. At least not yet. While the share of temporary workers has been rising since the recession ended in the summer of 2009, the current share of 2.05% is still way below the 2.34% peak in late 2005.