A Temp Service Is America’s 2nd-Biggest Employer

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It’s a great time to be a temporary or part-time employee in America. But it’s a terrible time to have a full-time job or a job that tasks you with making anything — except, maybe, burgers and tacos.

That’s one takeaway from last week’s June jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which revealed that Kelly Services, an international temporary staffing agency based in Michigan, is the Nation’s second-largest employer behind a company well known for its heavy dependence on part-time employees: Wal-Mart.

Between temp firms like Kelly and volume retail/service companies like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Kroger and Target, about 85 percent of the jobs held by Americans are either temporary assignments or low-wage, part-time positions. The Administration of President Barack Obama hailed the jobs report as a signifier of successful White House economic policy, ignoring the fact that the net gain in jobs for the month of June represented a massive shift in the American labor force from full-time jobs (which fell dramatically) to part-time work.

Writing for The Washington Examiner, Ashe Schow notes the June report isn’t a mere workforce aberration brought on by a glut of teenagers looking for summer work:

Temp jobs made up about 10 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, but now make up a tenth of the jobs in the United States. In fact, nearly one-fifth of all jobs gained since the recession ended have been temporary.

It’s a sad state of affairs for our country. While part-time and temp jobs reached highs last month, full-time jobs decreased by another 240,000. The recovery, or lack thereof, is being fueled by a shift from full-time to part-time work.

Further buttressing the mounting evidence that the Obama-led “recovery” has only accelerated a gradual U.S. trend away from actually making tangible goods (i.e., heavy manufacturing) and toward an service-oriented marketplace where the value of everything’s ephemeral, The New York Times created an infographic last year showing that service industries make up nine of the top 10 biggest American employers in the 21st century, compared with the 1960s, when seven of the top 10 were manufacturers like GM, Ford, U.S. Steel and General Electric.

Is it any coincidence that one-third of Americans — a number greater than the entire private sector workforce population in the United States — is now on food stamps?

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

  • Vigilant

    Mr. Bullard, you covered everything except the elephant in the room.

    The service industries you mentioned are cutting employees’ hours down to avoid the inordinate costs of Obamacare.

  • cryformetoo

    Does anyone expect business not to make plans to avoid tax legally? The government cheats the people, so the people must find a way to legitimately safeguard their money from the looters who actually do not have that problem, they just take it anyway. The looters exude innocence and the people are guilty until proven innocent, which of course means more money in the hands of the looters. Heads you lose and tails you lose. Stop complaining now, you voted for these looters, so as some would say, suck it up, shut up and pay up.

  • me

    Sad thing about temp services getting so big is that workers who are unemployed are desperate enough to go to them. The wages are not far from minimum wage and there are no benefits like retirement and health insurance. Next thing owebunhole care is going to come down on these people who make nothing. the American dream is dying and falling fast.

    • Don 2

      The best jobs and job benefits are being reserved for those who serve the machine……government employees.

  • Chester

    You might be interested to know a temporary worker can work forty hours a week at the same job, for the same company, and still get NO benefits. In fact, I know of temp workers who have been working in the exact same slot for two and three years without any pay raises or other signs they are appreciated. Incidentally, they ARE working for companies who do produce consumer goods, not just edibles.

  • nobaloneyhere

    His strategy to weaken our country’s economy is working.

  • Gimmesumadat Whatyougot

    According to Change.org, McDonald’s is paying employees by debit card account. Oftentimes with no other payment option such as direct deposit. A problem with the debit card program can be the fees for usage, for cash withdrawal, balance inquiries, etc. While the corporations get to link up to their venture-partners in a win-win deal, the little guy gets stuck again through corporate pillaging.

    Minimum wage – (minus) Fees = below minimum wage. But, results in stronger ties (profits) to the partners of this business model.