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Policy: Economy

Recovery woes: America's second-largest employer is a temp agency

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Beltway Confidential,Jobs,Ashe Schow,Economy

Behind Wal-Mart, the second-largest employer in America is *Kelly Services, a temporary work provider.

Friday's disappointing jobs report showed that part-time jobs are at an all-time high, with 28 million Americans now working part-time. The report also showed another disturbing fact: There are now a record number of Americans with temporary jobs.

Approximately 2.7 million, in fact. And the trend has been growing.

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, according to 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.

Temp jobs made up about 10 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, and because of high turnover (the average length of temp employment is 3 months before a worker moves on to a permanent job), one in 10 non-farm workers were employed by a US staffing firm at some point during the past year, according to ASA. In fact, nearly one-fifth of all jobs gained since the recession ended have been temporary.

It's a sad state of affairs for our country. 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.

CLARIFICATION:

Several days after this post went up on the Washington Examiner site, the New York Times added a footnote to the chart on which this post was based. The Times indicated the data for its chart was for global employment, not just domestic U.S. employment.

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