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Does unemployment take free agents into account?

Posted on February 24th, 2012 Read time: 1 minutes

According to a recent survey from Staffing Industry Analysts, businesses will increase their use of temporary workers by 26 percent over the next two years. This method of hiring is an estimated 8 percent cheaper than bringing on permanent employees that require benefits.

Temporary work remains prevalent in today's workforce, as the Denver Post notes that more than 25 percent of those who have found jobs since the recession ended have landed such positions. While more flexible, these jobs are also more volatile, leaving workers "vulnerable to the cycles of boom and bust," since they're usually the first ones fired if a company experiences monetary hardships.

"By definition, a good job was with a big company with big benefits where you could expect to work for your whole life," Carl Camden, chief executive of staffing firm Kelly Services, told the media outlet. "The social-benefits system relies on almost everybody working in a quote-unquote job. That's not the case now."

What's more, the current 8.3 national unemployment rate doesn't take into account "free agents" or those who "jump from project to project," the media outlet adds. Kelly found that 44 percent of recently surveyed workers considered themselves to be free agents, a marked rise from the 19 percent who said so in 2006. 

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