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The Evolution of the Demand for Temporary Help Supply Employment in the United States

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  • Marcello M. Estevao
  • Saul Lach

Abstract

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported an extraordinary increase in temporary help supply (THS) employment during the late 1980s and the 1990s. However, little is known about the venues where these THS employees actually work. Our estimates indicate that the proportion of THS employees in each major American industry, except the public sector, increased during 1977-97. By 1997, close to 4 percent of the employees in manufacturing and services were THS workers. In the service sector, the increase was accompanied by a large increase in direct hires. In manufacturing, however, it was accompanied by a decline in direct hiring from its peak in 1989 even though output increased substantially in the 1990s. Practically, all of the growth in THS employment is attributed to a change in the hiring behavior of firms, rather than to a disproportional increase in the size of more THS-intensive industries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7427.

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Date of creation: Dec 1999
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Publication status: published as Carre, Francoise et al. (eds.) Nonstandard work: The nature and challenges of changing employment arrangements, Industrial Relations Research Association Series. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, ILR Press, 2000.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7427

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  1. David H. Autor, 2000. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," NBER Working Papers 7637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1995. "The temporary labor force," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Mar, pages 2-19.
  3. Lewis Segal & Daniel Sullivan, 1996. "The growth of temporary services work," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago WP-96-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan K. Taylor, 1993. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marcello Estevao & Saul Lach, 1999. "Measuring temporary labor outsourcing in U.S. manufacturing," Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) 1999-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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Cited by:
  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2002. "12 million salaried workers are missing," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(4), pages 649-666, July.
  2. Matthew Dey & Susan Houseman & Anne Polivka, 2009. "What Do We Know about Contracting Out in the United States? Evidence from Household and Establishment Surveys," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research 09-157, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  3. Ann Bartel & Saul Lach & Nachum Sicherman, 2005. "Outsourcing and Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 11158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mariagiovanna Baccara, 2008. "Outsourcing, Information Leakage and Consulting Firms," Working Papers, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics 08-7, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  5. Surfield, Christopher & Welch, William, 2009. "Atypical Work and Employment Regulations: A Comparison of Right-to-Work to Closed-Shop States," MPRA Paper 14462, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Andre Kurmann & Julien Champagne, 2010. "The Great Increase in Relative Volatility of Real Wages in the United States," 2010 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 674, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Gary Benedetto & John Haltiwanger & Julia Lane & Kevin McKinney, 2003. "Using Worker Flows in the Analysis of the Firm," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau 2003-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised May 2004.

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