Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 11 No. 2 (Spring 1997)


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The Growth of Temporary Services Work

Article Citation

Segal, Lewis M., and Daniel G. Sullivan. 1997. "The Growth of Temporary Services Work." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(2): 117-136.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.2.117


Temporary services employment grew rapidly over the past several decades and now accounts for a sizable fraction of aggregate employment. The authors use Current Population Survey data to examine the changing nature of temporary work and discuss explanations for its growth. Temps are no longer overwhelmingly female or limited to clerical occupations. They have less labor market security than permanent workers, being prone to more unemployment and more underemployment. Few, however, are in temp positions a year later and the majority transition to permanent employment. Temp wages are approximately 20 percent below permanent workers, but individual and job characteristics explain approximately two-thirds of the gap.

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Segal, Lewis M. (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
Sullivan, Daniel G. (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

JEL Classifications

J22: Time Allocation and Labor Supply


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