Helene Jorgensen

Helene Jorgensen is an economist with the AFL-CIO. Her writings do not necessarily represent the views of the AFL-CIO.

Recent Articles

Permatemps

T he temporary work industry has been around for a long time, but it exploded in the 1990s. The number of temp agency jobs has doubled in the past six years, to 3.5 million. Ever more young adults are using temp agencies as bridges into the work force and between jobs. Nearly one in six young adults today will take a temporary job at some point before turning age 35. Temps are part of a broader move to "contingent" employment--which includes part-timers and contract workers, often with substandard pay and benefit arrangements. The attractive aspects of "independent" work are much heralded: well-paid consultants can artfully balance work and family by setting their own hours while telecommuting. But the reality for most contingent workers is vastly different. One of the most striking new developments is the rise of "permatemps." These are employees who, for all practical purposes, are part of a company's permanent work force. Yet they are actually employed not by that company, but...