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Flexible recession: the temporary staffing industry and mediated work in the United States

Listed author(s):
  • Jamie Peck
  • Nik Theodore

The evolution of the temporary staffing industry (TSI) in the US is examined, with particular reference to the structural functions of temporary work during the boom of the 1990s, the 'flexible' recession of 2001, and the subsequent 'jobless' recovery. It is argued that the TSI is increasingly playing a systemic, macroregulatory role in the US labour market, where it now accounts for a disproportionate share of the costs of labour-market adjustment. The development path of the TSI is closely intertwined with the wider restructuring of the US economy, where it has assumed a significant presence as a purveyor of low-cost, flexibly mediated labour. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bel011
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 171-192

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:31:y:2007:i:2:p:171-192
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  1. Erica L. Groshen & Simon M. Potter, 2003. "Has structural change contributed to a jobless recovery?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Aug).
  2. Garth Mangum & Donald Mayall & Kristin Nelson, 1985. "The Temporary Help Industry: A Response to the Dual Internal Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(4), pages 599-611, July.
  3. Nik Theodore, 2003. "Political Economies of Day Labour: Regulation and Restructuring of Chicago's Contingent Labour Markets," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 40(9), pages 1811-1828, August.
  4. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01dr26xx37d is not listed on IDEAS
  5. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  6. Mack A. Moore, 1965. "The Temporary Help Service Industry: Historical Development, Operation, and Scope," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 18(4), pages 554-569, July.
  7. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1997. "The Growth of Temporary Services Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
  8. Lawrence Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "The High-pressure U.S. Labor Market of the 1990s," Working Papers 795, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Heidi Gottfried, 1992. "In the Margins: Flexibility as a Mode of Regulation in the Temporary Help Service Industry," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 6(3), pages 443-460, September.
  10. Stacey L. Schreft & Aarti Singh, 2003. "A closer look at jobless recoveries," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 45-73.
  11. repec:fth:prinin:416 is not listed on IDEAS
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