Temp work, permanent anxiety

Since the economic downturn started we’ve been checking in with sources in our Public Insight Network who are looking for work. We asked them earlier this week how things are going and learned that many remain jobless. But about an equal number have now found work.

The problem is most of those jobs are temporary or contract jobs without benefits. Workers who land them still face uncertainty and continued job hunting.

Sallie Malmstrom of Eden Prairie, who we talked to last year around this time, has finally found a job after 18 months of looking after being laid off after 20 years in the manufacturing/engineering field.

“I went back to school/training provided by the workforce center,” she wrote. “It helped me be able to get the job that I started this week.”

The temporary position will only last about two months and is not enough to get her family’s finances back on track.

“My husband and I ended up filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy last week and we know we will still be losing our house despite it being on the market since April 2010,” Malmstrom wrote.

Christopher Johnson of Wayzata has also found work – through May:

I have a contract position with a local multi-channel retailer as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation consultant. In plain English that means I help the company setup and use a new system for managing their financials and operations. My contract ends in May. A recruiter contacted me after finding my resume on a specialty website. As a contractor, I am paid an hourly rate, and have to manage my own health insurance and savings. As the end of the contract nears, I will begin looking for the next opportunity.

Sara Cheever, Eden Prairie, has been employed since April, but she still has many doubts about the future:

My last full-time position was eliminated in November 2008. I was unemployed until May 2009, when I was able to obtain an internship because I was getting my Master’s degree in Human Resources. My internship ended in April 2010 and since then, I have been fortunate enough to find two temporary positions, which have kept me continously employed since then. My search for a full-time position has been demoralizing. I have over seven years of experience and a Master’s degree (both in my chosen field) and interviews are few and far between. I doubt myself and my chosen career path constantly.

The rise in temporary jobs is a trend we’ve been tracking for a while. Last month, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported that temporary jobs had returned to pre-recession levels. But given the lack of benefits and security in these positions, what does their growth mean for our workforce and our economy?

Are you looking for work? Have you found a job recently? We want to hear your story: share it here.

Comments are closed.