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.
In the context of the passage, the word "excessive" (in the highlighted text) most closely corresponds to which of the following phrases?
Far more than can be justified by worker preferences
Far more than can be explained by fluctuations in product demand
Far more than can be beneficial to the success of the firms themselves
Far more than can be accounted for by an expanding national economy
Far more than can be attributed to increases in the total number of people in the workforce