In the fall of 2007, when the U.S. economy first seemed in peril, I began answering reader queries here on the Business Desk. I still do so occasionally, but this page has expanded to include posts from eminent economists, "far-flung correspondents," and a variety of voices that have intriguing and/or useful things to say about economics, broadly defined. Please feel encouraged to respond to any and all of them.
Where Do Temp Workers Fit in the Latest Unemployment Figures?
Paul Solman: Another Twitter question, this one from a Chicago actress who goes by the handle "alipoombayay"
'could surge mean unemp ran out for lst yr`s laid off and they can finally temp wo losing benefits?'
She means the surge in temporary workers reported in November's job data. My Tweet:
'Tweet Q: could temp surge mean unemp ran out for 1st-yrs who can now temp w/o losing benefits? My more traditnl A: temps R prelude to hiring'
I.e., firms like to hire workers as temps before taking them on full-time, with all the benefits and other commitments that entails. And surely firms are worried, as we all are: Suppose there's another downturn. In short, I don't think the action is on the supply side: there's more than enough labor out there already. It's the DEMAND for labor that dictates more jobs.