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United States Businesses The Almighty Buck

America's Second-largest Employer Is a Temp Agency 541

cold fjord writes "From the Examiner: '...the second-largest employer in America is Kelly Services, a temporary work provider. ... part-time jobs are at an all-time high, with 28 million Americans now working part-time. ... There are now a record number of Americans with temporary jobs. Approximately 2.7 million, in fact. And the trend has been growing. ... Temp jobs made up about 10 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, but now make up a tenth of the jobs in the United States. In fact, nearly one-fifth of all jobs gained since the recession ended have been temporary.' The NYT has a chart detailing the problem."
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America's Second-largest Employer Is a Temp Agency

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @04:40PM (#44218937)

    and some places make you an 1099 but boss and work you like an W2 one.

    • I haven't seen a legitimate use of a 1099 in my life.

    • by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:34PM (#44219561) Homepage

      Speaking of workers rights... Can anyone explain to me why "Computer Professionals" are specifically exempted from overtime pay []? Why is my overtime less valuable than someone else's overtime?

      Let me guess: Is it because some large IT firm slipped substantial campaign contributions to the right legislative whores?

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @04:43PM (#44218955)

    at least under the new bill part timers and temps can get real health insurance with out pre existing conditions or mini med planes that don't cover much.

    • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:19PM (#44219369)

      ‘Bingo’: Iowahawk sums up the jobs report in one tweet about Taco Bell []

      David Burge @iowahawkblog []

      Unemployment report in a nutshell: the Taco Bell that had 30 40 hour workers now has 40 30 hour workers.

      Behind the Dismal Jobs Numbers: The ‘New’ Economy Takes Shape []

  • Lack of commitment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @04:45PM (#44218993) Journal
    Employers are afraid to commit and invest in their employees any more. I worked at a call center that was a "temp-to-hire" once - they had around 50 full time employees, including the 20-odd folks in management. Another 100 were temp workers who were brought in, worked to the bone until they burned out, then let go. The highest performers (read: the people who didn't screw up) were offered full time positions with the company, or promotions. The need for this could have been alleviated with better training, but training employees is expensive. Better to hire a lot of them short term through a temp agency, see which ones fit in, and just let the others go, in a constant pattern of churn.

    I quit that place despite being one of the rare full timers, because I decided I'd much rather work on computers directly than just talk to people about them.
    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      Employers are afraid to commit and invest in their employees any more.

      You make it sound almost reasonable
      I don't think "afraid" is the right word. Employees are no longer interested in investing in their employees by training them. Of course there is a good chance that well-trained and secure employees would be better for the company... but that's a long-run talk which does not generate a bonus in the current quarter.

      I don't think this is about "picking the best" from the temp employees. I think it's about reducing costs.

      • Employers are afraid to commit and invest in their employees any more.

        You make it sound almost reasonable I don't think "afraid" is the right word. Employees are no longer interested in investing in their employees by training them. Of course there is a good chance that well-trained and secure employees would be better for the company... but that's a long-run talk which does not generate a bonus in the current quarter.

        I don't think this is about "picking the best" from the temp employees. I think it's about reducing costs.

        I think you're right. The last few "big" companies that I worked for had concerns about hiring new employees for a few different reasons. One is the training time (which granted, wouldn't be diminished for a temp employee), but a bigger one is all of the benefit bullshit. Employers have to pay into unemployment for all of their "official" employees, and if they have to fire someone because they can't do the job then they're stuck for it. On top of that is the fact that during the recession a lot of peop

    • by mx+b ( 2078162 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:05PM (#44219201)

      I have seen this attitude on the job hunt lately myself.

      Anecdotal, sure, but here's my favorite story lately: Thru some networking, I managed to grab ahold of the HR Manager at a company recently, and apply to a job that sounded pretty cool. After a few interviews and tests, HR called to make me an offer like this: "Hi, we'd like to make an offer!", "OK, great! What are you thinking?" "Well, we will give you salary of your past employer + 1$/hr AND have you work through one of our trusted third-parties". "Wait... what about a third-party??". I had to tell the guy that I contacted him because I wanted a FULL TIME WITH REGULAR BENEFITS position, not temp/part-time contract. If I wanted that, I could have called the temp agency myself. The hours expected of me, for the marginal pay increase but lack of benefits on a 3 month contract with only vague allusions to future career, made me decline it. I have no idea what they were thinking, that such a "package" is attractive. I heard the usual "we need to make sure it's a good fit" deal, but my attitude is you either believe me at my skills or don't. That statement is just trying to get free work out of me, and I don't appreciate it.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      As long as employers chew up their workers fairly quickly it tends to work out cheaper for them to hire temps. No severance pay, no benefits, no paid holidays or maternity leave, basically just low wage disposable labour.

      I don't know how it works in the US but companies that do this are basically benefit scroungers. They don't want to pay a wage people can live on or provide any kind of job security, so the state has to do it with tax breaks and income top-ups, and by supporting the unemployed between temp

    • correct so many people go threw temps now because just so they can hire and fire at will and not have to worry aboight anything. hell amazon has there own dedicated temp agency just so they don't have to deal with direct hire you will see them on tv around Christmas. i don't think any factory has direct hire anymore. its good from a business standpoint but its utter shit because job security is no longer something anyone has.
  • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @04:46PM (#44219011)

    Here is our opportunity to lessen our average work week to be less than 40 hours. Now we just need our safety nets to keep up with the fact that a large percentage of the population will probably be working less than 40 hours per week in the future. In my opinion either the percentage of part time workers will continue to rise or the number of unemployed will start to rise. Hopefully we decide to fix the social problems caused by this with welfare programs instead of higher minimum wage laws this time (since small minded regulations create these problems in the first place).

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Why do our safety needs to keep up. We have more safety net than at any prior time in history. Instead of treating the symptom maybe we should tackle the problem. Before 1970 very few households were two income. So somehow with ~40 hours of labor invested outside the home a comfortable standard of living could be maintained. Now days that otherwise comparable family in terms of living standard, education, etc, has to have two people working putting in a total of ~80+ hours outside the home; all while w

  • We no longer need 40-hour work-weeks in the US. The productivity of the average worker is really damn high. But we've decided that cutting back hours to what's needed justifies a massive pay-loss.

    This manifests in temp-jobs, migrant workers, bored salaried office workers dragged into offices for 40 hours a week. The net result is a less stable society, with a high GDP, and awful wages.

    Please note this post represents an observational opinion that doesn't not necessarily represent a rigorously studied p

    • Most people I know work far more than 40 hours a week because of all the cuts to make the workforce more "efficient". Temps are hired to fill in during especially rough times.

      • Most people who work 'far more then 40 hours a week' would get more done (and do it better) if they worked 40. In reality most of them are playing the 'facetime' game.

        They should jump up and down until their balls drop, then explain to their boss that burned out people almost always do negative work. Constant overtime is a sure sign that they are not managing their managers.

  • get rid of salary no overtime pay or make it 100K mini pay to have it like that.

    also have a double OT pay kick it at 50-60 hour weeks

    Maybe even make 35 the new full time with ot starting at hour 36.

  • And yet... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @04:53PM (#44219069) Journal

    Yes, having the 2nd largest employer in the country be a temp service speaks volumes about the alleged recovery and job market.

    The first-largest is Wal Mart, which is pretty much the same, and horrible.
    (2.2 million employees, 1.3 mill in the USA)

    Yet curiously omitted from the figures?
    Total number of US government employees? 2.8 million.
    Total local/state employees? 19-some million.
    So ~20 million people in this country get their paycheck from the government....that's what, about 7% of the entire electorate owes their income to the gubbermint? One might argue that due to a clear conflict of interest, they perhaps shouldn't get votes.

    Some people would say that's even MORE revealing about the US (so called), not to mention the tendentiousness of the reporting on the story that it's NOT EVEN MENTIONED.

    • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @04:59PM (#44219141)

      Every American is the beneficiary of the government in some way or form so we all have conflicts of interest. It's not like these workers can somehow vote in a way that impacts their compensation or that they are all that well paid compared to the private sector in the first place.

      • Look at what FDR had to say about public unions. You are just wrong. They are overpaid, underworked and proud of it.

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      Oh, the 7% of U.S. population doesn't get their wages from the government, they get their wages from the rest of the population - and only the part of the rest that pays taxes, with corporate tax payments being some sort of a joke these days. Remember: the government doesn't make any money, nor do they have any. They get it from the rest of us via taxes.

    • I'm still waiting for the President's "laserlike focus" on jobs to pay off. We've had close to 7 years of what effectively amounts to institutionalized stimulus with nothing to show for it except inflated CXO bonuses and Wall Street numbers that are being propped up by the Fed.

      The leadership of both parties need to jump in the Potomac.

  • Maybe this is a good thing. Or at least, could be a good thing.

    Imagine, for a metaphor, that workers are computer servers. This would be like virtualization - since the amount of work needed is often variable, being able to quickly "provision" workers could be a benefit. And having an agency that employs these people could provide more stability for the workers, in the way that Amazon and other cloud providers get more heavily-utilized servers. And, as with the computer cloud vs. dedicated server debate, em

    • "When you've decided that you no longer need an instance, you can terminate it. As soon as the status of an instance changes to shutting down or terminated, you stop incurring charges for that instance."

      Have a nice day.

  • CITATION NEEDED (Score:5, Informative)

    by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:06PM (#44219213)

    In fact, nearly one-fifth of all jobs gained since the recession ended have been temporary.'

    What in the what? I'd REALLY like to see a source on that, given that it's directly contradicted by the BLS. []
    Since the job market bottomed, we've created 5.4 million full-time jobs and 600,000 part-time jobs. How is that "nearly one-fifth"?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Got a temp job at Deep 13. Never again!

  • Wealth economy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:12PM (#44219293) Homepage Journal

    People have been predicting the wealth economy for some time, but have no clear plan on how to transition to that model.

    Here's an opportunity: redefine "full time" to be less than 40 hours. Our productivity is now so high that fewer people need to work, but at the same time we need to employ everyone in order to prevent unrest and revolt.

    Productivity is high, so we should have more leisure time. GDP per capita has skyrocketed [], it's doubled since about 1990, and the average citizen would get $40,000 per year if output was distributed evenly. That's every man, woman and child - employed or not, and every year.

    Corporations have to start spending money on the people instead of cutting people out of production. Better educated workers, happier workers, healthier workers make your business stronger and give better return on investment than rehiring. Much better return than "cost accounting", which aims to make the cheapest product people can tolerate.

    Government has to start rerouting wealth from businesses to the people, by way of infrastructure benefits. Free health care and free education, as well as infrastructure projects (national system of renewable power generation, universal internet service, &c) enrich the population without coddling to the lazy.

    Production is met by an ever-dwindling need for human interaction. We should embrace this trend in a way that doesn't require armed revolt.

  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @09:53PM (#44221451)

    Link [] 1971 the recently renamed Kelly Services ran a series of ads in The Office, a human resources journal, promoting the “Never-Never Girl,” who, the company claimed: “Never takes a vacation or holiday. Never asks for a raise. Never costs you a dime for slack time. (When the workload drops, you drop her.) Never has a cold, slipped disc or loose tooth. (Not on your time anyway!) Never costs you for unemployment taxes and Social Security payments. (None of the paperwork, either!) Never costs you for fringe benefits. (They add up to 30% of every payroll dollar.) Never fails to please. (If your Kelly Girl employee doesn’t work out, you don’t pay.)”

    You're not a person. You're not an employee. You're not even worthy of respect.

  • I know this will not be a popular opinion here - and I will likely be moderated into oblivion for even daring to suggest it on this right-leaning site - but seriously a single-payer healthcare system could do a lot to resolve this problem. There are a large number of people in this country who seek out full-time work not because they want to work 40 hours or because they even want to live the lifestyle of a full-timer, but because it is the only way to get health care (and don't try to claim that the health insurance bailout act called "obamacare" changes this in a meaningful way, because it really doesn't). There are plenty of people who would take a 25% pay cut to work 30 hours if they could still get health care, but the vast majority of employers in this country won't allow it. There are others who would work fewer hours and then take the time difference to pursue an education or vocational training (and are hence instead stuck in a dead end position because they have lost that flexibility). There are even some who would take two part-time jobs to accommodate their scheduling needs, but again can't do it because of health care.

    These people won't be served by the current system, or any system that has been proposed in the past two decades. These people would also make jobs available by leaving full time positions, which would help those who seek full-time employment currently.

    But instead our "main stream media" has told us such things are "un-American" and "communist". Why will we never get single-payer health care in the US? The same reason we'll never get solar power or a manned mission to Mars; people make more money on the current system than changing it to anything else.

    I've already put on my fucking asbestos. Flame away.
  • it's deliberate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:54AM (#44222317)

    you don't want the slaves being told they have rights, do you?

    Advantage to the employer of offering only part time/temporary employment through an agency:

    No unions to deal with (there is no temp union anywhere)
    No pensions to contribute to (part timers don't get an employer-provided pension)
    No liability (for things like temps breaking their wrists - been there, worn the t-shirt, had to foot the fucking medical bill myself!)
    No employers rates (things like tax/NI which is a bloody headache if you're dealing with hundreds of employees all of whim pay tax/NI and since most of them will be on PAYE, it's all on your books which means that for every employee you have to garnish their pay by 20someodd% and send it to the Treasury, on top of which a recent additional tax which is scaled according to how many *full time* employees you have)
    No contracts (except with the agency, where it's pretty much a case of "I have this many spaces, I accept your rates, send me bodies.")
    No medical insurance (you're not employing the slave, you're employing the agency, *the agency* employs the slave and their employment contract more often than not has a specific medical disclaimer. See above)
    No employment tribunals (you're contracting with the agency, not the slave)
    Minimal wage bill (they may pay a premium for being able to hire through an agency, but it's still cheaper than employing someone full time who's not up to the task and not being able to fire them because they've technically done nothing wrong)
    Maximum profit per unit labour

    Advantage to the employee:

    None. I don't count being able to work to pay your rent an advantage, that is a basic need along with food, clothing and medical intervention when necessary.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.