Some observers have attributed the dramatic growth in temporary employment that occurred in the United States during the 1980s to increased participation in the workforce by certain groups, such as first-time or reentering workers, who supposedly prefer such arrangements. However, statistical analyses reveal that demographic changes in the workforce did not correlate with variations in the total number of temporary workers. Instead, these analyses suggest that factors affecting employers account for the rise in temporary employment. One factor is product demand: temporary employment is favored by employers who are adapting to fluctuating demand for products while at the same time seeking to reduce overall labor costs. Another factor is labor's reduced bargaining strength, which allows employers more control over the terms of employment. Given the analyses, which reveal that growth in temporary employment now far exceeds the level explainable by recent workforce entry rates of groups said to prefer temporary jobs, firms should be discouraged from creating excessive numbers of temporary positions. Government policymakers should consider mandating benefit coverage for temporary employees, promoting pay equity between temporary and permanent workers, assisting labor unions in organizing temporary workers, and encouraging firms to assign temporary jobs primarily to employees who explicitly indicate that preference.

The passage suggests which of the following about the use of temporary employment by firms during the 1980s?

It enabled firms to deal with fluctuating product demand far more efficiently than they did before the 1980s.

It increased as a result of increased participation in the workforce by certain demographic groups.

It was discouraged by government-mandated policies.

It was a response to preferences indicated by certain employees for more flexible working arrangements.

It increased partly as a result of workers' reduced ability to control the terms of their employment.


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