It’s great that the economy created nearly 200,000 jobs in February and the jobless rate dipped down below 9 percent, but for a whole class of workers the job market is still crummy.
The number of part-timers who really want a full-time job is still hovering above 8 million, according to the unemployment report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.3 million in February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
And there are still millions more working temp or contract jobs but really want full-time, good-paying, benefits-covering jobs, with a bit more job security.
Demand for temps is expected to jump 20.3 percent this year, according to a recent study a California staffing firm, G. Palmer & Associates. “Following recent trends, our 2011 first-quarter forecast shows continued steady growth and indicates another increase in demand for temporary workers, marking the fifth-consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases,” said Greg Palmer, founder of Palmer.
The BLS hasn’t really tracked temps and contract workers in any real way, but recently added a new “self-employed” category to its data tracking, and that showed about 14 million in January.
It’s the emerging freelance and part-time nation.
It’s bad news for those of us who just want a regular gig; and lately, I’ve been getting more and more questions from readers about how to break out of this employment purgatory and get your temp boss to become your permanent boss. There are ways to try and do that, but I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s an uphill battle.
Companies don’t want to hire permanent employees because they’ve gotten used to propping up profits on the backs of you part timers, contractors and temps, which they can kick out when ever they want. The laws are also a bit lax when it comes to enforcing labor laws when employers misclassify many of you who really should be considered full-time employees.
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) sponsored legislation that would make it harder for employers to do that, and the White House has endorsed the bill. “Stopping worker misclassification is a priority for the President’s Middle Class Task Force, which I chair, and I applaud Senator Kerry and Congressman McDermott for introducing this bill,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “The legislation is timely, as misclassification is an increasing problem, one that puts employers who properly classify their workers at a disadvantage in the marketplace and costs the government billions of dollars in unpaid taxes.”
According to Open Congress, Kerry’s bill hasn’t even gotten any media attention, and there’s no update on it as far as where it stands and there’s no updates on its progress other than, “Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.”
At least somebody’s read it, which is nice. But getting people back to work, and I mean working real jobs, was supposed to be a priority for politicians, no?
Aside from the legalities of hiring temporary workers, it turns out it’s also a dumb management move.
Broschak listed the reasons why:
*One, in many organizations the task of training and socializing temporary workers on company-specific processes is often delegated to full-time workers. Having more temporary coworkers makes full-time workers’ jobs more complicated, since they are always training new people.
*Two, regularly helping temporary workers can get in the way of full-time employees completing their work.
*Further, in the minds of full-time employees their jobs have diminished status when temporary workers occupy similar jobs.
Anyway, on the question of “how do I convince a company to give me a permanent desk,” I suspect many of you are already doing the right things — working hard, volunteering for assignments, networking with people in power, and reaching out to mentors. If you’re not doing these things, start. If you are and months, maybe years, have passed without an offer, or a promise of one soon, it’s time to get back into the job-hunting race.
If enough of you do that, the jobless rate may climb, but maybe it will get politicians off their butts to focus on the top priority they promised us they would focus on — creating jobs.