The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-wage Worker Advancement
We examine the effects of temporary help service employment on later earnings and employment for individuals participating in three federal programs providing supportive services to those facing employment difficulties. The programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, whose participants are seriously disadvantaged; a job training program with a highly heterogeneous population of participants; and employment exchange services, whose participants consist of Unemployment Insurance claimants and individuals seeking assistant in obtaining employment. We undertake our analyses for two periods: the late 1990s, a time of very strong economic growth, and shortly after 2000, a time of relative stagnation. Our results suggest that temporary help service firms may facilitate quicker access to jobs for those seeking employment assistance and impart substantial benefits as transitional employment, especially for individuals whose alternatives are severely limited. Those who do not move out of temporary help jobs, however, face substantially poorer prospects, and we observe that nonwhites are more likely than whites to remain in THS positions in the two years following program participation. Our results are robust to program and time period.
This work was supported by a grant from the Rockefeller/Russell Sage Foundation Future of Work Program. We wish to acknowledge helpful comments from David Autor, Bernhard Broockman, John Fitzgerald, Gerald Oettinger, Jeffrey Smith, Daniel Sullivan, and participants in the NBER Conference on Labor Market Intermediation, the Third Conference on Evaluation Research (Mannheim), annual conferences of the Midwest Economics Association and the Society of Labor Economists, and seminars at the Bowdoin College and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). Excellent research assistance was provided by Kyung-Seong Jeon and Chao Gu. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-Wage Worker Advancement, Carolyn J. Heinrich, Peter R. Mueser, Kenneth R. Troske. in Studies of Labor Market Intermediation , Autor. 2009