Low-Income and Low-Skilled Workers Involvement in Nonstandard Employment. Public Assistance Receipt and Poverty Status


The key result in this section is that temporary help work appears to substantially reduce the likelihood of a worker receiving public assistance or having low income a year later--sometimes by more than a third. The gains are particularly marked for at-risk workers.

For example, individuals who were not employed for both of the months in the initial period have an 18 percent chance of getting public assistance (28 percent if they are at risk), a 15 percent chance of Medicaid receipt (23 percent if at risk) and a 50 percent chance of being below 200 percent of the poverty level (74 percent if at risk). These odds drop substantially if an individual with similar characteristics were to go from nonemployment to temporary work. Public assistance receipt would drop by 19 percent (22 percent if at risk); Medicaid by 25 percent (29 percent if at risk) and the incidence of income below 200 percent of the poverty level by 18 percent (17 percent if at risk). This effect is more pronounced for individuals who move from regular employment to nonemployment as opposed to temporary work. Workers with similar characteristics who choose temporary work (rather than nonemployment) have substantially better outcomes a year later.


55. Again, full details on these issues are provided in Appendices A and B.

56. We define at risk as 200 percent of the federal poverty level rather than 150 percent (our definition of at risk for the CPS analysis). The higher cutoff is used here to ensure the sample size is adequate for analysis.

57. Although the results that are presented here reflect the simple quintile approach discussed in the previous section, the results are substantively unchanged when additional controls are added, or when a difference-in-difference approach is used.

58. The predicted probability for temporary workers can be calculated from Table 4.1 by taking the estimated probability of .345 for the comparison group plus the temporary worker differential of .336.

59. The differences in average hours worked between those who left employment and those who remained employed partially reflects the difference in employment rates a year later for the two groups.