Low-Income and Low-Skilled Workers Involvement in Nonstandard Employment. The Characteristics of Jobs for At-Risk Workers in Alternative Work Arrangements

10/01/2001

Although temporary help jobs have often been characterized as peripheral and marginal in nature, little is known about whether these jobs are substantially different for at-risk workers than for the workforce in general. This section examines several different aspects of jobs in the alternative work arrangements sector--the quantity of work (hours and job duration), the price of work (the wage rate), and other measures of the quality of work (such as benefit information). Although these measures are of interest in any analysis of the labor market, they are of particular interest to those at risk of welfare receipt. It is self-evident that low wages are an important contributing factor to poverty--and it is also well known that the difference between low-wage workers below poverty and low-wage workers above poverty is the number of weeks and hours worked per year. (52) In addition, work by Farber (1997) shows that the availability of health and pension benefits for low-skill workers is steadily decreasing, lowering the quality of jobs available to this group.