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Manufacturing plants’ use of temporary workers: an analysis using census micro data

  • Yukako Ono
  • Daniel G. Sullivan

Using plant-level data from the Plant Capacity Utilization (PCU) Survey, we examine how a manufacturing plant’s use of temporary workers is associated with the nature of its output fluctuations. Our empirical evidence suggests that plants choose temps over perms when they expect output to fall, which allows them to avoid costs associated with laying off permanent employees. We also found that plants whose output levels are associated with greater levels of uncertainty use more temps. The effects of other variables are also tested in order to examine the validity of various views about why firms use temporary workers. The variables we look at include wage and benefit levels for permanent workers, unionization rates, turnover rates, seasonal factors, and plant size and age.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-06-24.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-06-24
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  1. Lewis Segal & Daniel Sullivan, 1996. "The growth of temporary services work," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Susan N. Houseman & Arne L. Kalleberg & George A. Erickcek, 2001. "The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Tight Labor Markets," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 01-73, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  3. Marcello Estevao & Saul Lach, 1999. "Measuring Temporary Labor Outsourcing in U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 7421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1998. "Wage differentials for temporary services work: evidence from administrative data," Working Paper Series WP-98-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "The High-Pressure U.S. Labor Market of the 1990s," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(1), pages 1-88.
  6. Susan N. Houseman, 2001. "Why employers use flexible staffing arrangements: Evidence from an establishment survey," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 149-170, October.
  7. Daniel Aaronson & Ellen Rissman & Daniel G. Sullivan, 2004. "Can sectoral reallocation explain the jobless recovery?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 36-39.
  8. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1995. "The temporary labor force," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Mar, pages 2-19.
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