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Professor weighs whether temp work is good for economy

Posted on January 23rd, 2012 Read time: 1 minutes

According to a recent CareerBuilder report, more than one-third of American companies are operating with smaller staffs post-recession, and 36 percent of businesses plan to hire temporary workers in 2012.

Eric Gilpin, president of CareerBuilder's Staffing & Recruiting Group, noted that "Temporary jobs from staffing and recruiting firms are playing an increasingly important role in the economic recovery."

But is this necessarily true?

Wayne Lewchuk, professor at the School of Labor Studies at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, tells Canadian current affairs magazine Macleans that temporary workers may exacerbate an already drowning economy.

"People who don't earn as much money spend less, which isn't good for the economy," Lewchuk said, as quoted by GigaOM. "If people stop buying, then companies stop producing and lay off more workers."

Lewchuk adds that increased contract hiring may facilitate the "growing gap between the rich and the poor," as he believes "throwaway workers" are making recessions longer and more painful rather than assisting in economic recovery.

The CareerBuilder poll found that the number of temp workers hired by companies has increased exponentially since 2009, rising from 28 percent to 30 percent in 2010, 34 percent in 2011 and 36 percent in 2012.  

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