Related BLS programs | Related articles
March 1989, Vol. 112, No. 3
What temporary workers earn: findings from new BLS survey
Harry B. Williams
In recent years, many businesses have experienced a growing need to fill short-term job assignments, replacing regular employees who are absent because of illness, vacation, or other reasons. At the same time, many individuals, including students and recent labor market entrants and reentrants, have sought part-time or intermittent work that does not involve a long-term commitment to a single employer. These dual needs have resulted in massive growth for the Nation's temporary help supply services firms which match short-term job requests with the available pool of temporary workers or "temps." These workers are supervised by the client firm but are on the payroll of the temporary help organization.
Until recently, little was known about the pay and benefits offered by these firms. In September 1987, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began its first study of occupational pay and employee benefit provisions in the temporary help supply services industry. The survey covered more than 600,000 workers and revealed wide variations in pay rates, reflecting the diversity of occupations, skill levels, and assignments reported.1 Employees studied included both temporary workers and the relatively small number of permanent full-time employees who manage and administer day-to-day operations of the firms in the industry.
This excerpt is from an article published in the March 1989 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full text in PDF (313K)
1 Estimates of the number of workers are intended as a general guide to the size and composition of the industry's labor force, rather than as precise measures of employment. The study excluded workers in establishments employing fewer than 50 workers and establishments in Alaska and Hawaii. The estimate of employment in the industry differs from other statistical sources, such as, the Bureau's Current Employment Survey series, largely because of the survey's design.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers