Change in Temporary Employment and Average Weekly Hours Since the Beginning of the Recession Print
August 5, 2011

The temp sector added just 300 jobs in July. Employment in the temp sector is down 17,700 jobs since March. This is noteworthy because it directly contradicts the business uncertainty story. If businesses are holding back on hiring because they are worried about regulations, taxes, or debt default then they would be hiring temps in large numbers; however, temp employment is still down by almost 16 percent from its pre-recession level.

In the same vein, employers should be increasing the length of the average workweek as they work their existing work force more hours in order to avoid hiring new workers. (This would also be the case if there were a problem of structural unemployment due to a skills/job mismatch.) In fact, the length of the average workweek has been essentially flat over the last year and is still below the pre-recession level.

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