Mapping Europe's Temp Worker Epidemic

As we’ve reported time and time again, once one looks past the headlines extolling the labor market "recovery" in the US, the details of these reports paint a much more discouraging picture. One need only look to the establishment survey – one of two measures used to calculate the Labor Department's monthly jobs figures – which shows that full-time jobs with benefits are increasingly being supplanted by low-paying part-time jobs. In the employment data, many of these jobs are misleadingly double- and triple-counted as the data fail to reflect that many workers are being forced to work two or three part-time jobs, instead of one full-time job.

Unsurprisingly, a recent report from Stratfor reveals that many European countries are struggling with the same problem – except the situation is even more dire. As Stratfor explains, jobs offered under part-time and temporary contracts are accounting for an increasingly large share of total employment, while full-time jobs are disappearing at an alarming clip.

In 2003, well before Europe's economic crisis, 15 percent of workers in the European Union were employed under part-time contracts. By 2015, that had risen to 19 percent. Meanwhile, in the US, about 18% of workers are part-time, according to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But what's even more discouraging is the rise in temporary-contract based employment, which rose from 9 percent of the total to 11 percent between 2003 and 2015. The share of employees working on temporary contracts is as high as 20% in Poland and Spain. As Stratfor explains, relying on temporary work can have a profoundly negative impact on an employees’ long-term marketability.

“Temporary jobs offer less security than even part-time permanent ones. They often come with lower salaries and fewer training and career advancement opportunities, making it harder for workers to access credit, plan their consumption decisions or qualify for unemployment benefits.”

Already, a sizable chunk of Europe’s labor force has been permanently relegated to the ranks of the working poor.

“Since the start of the 2008 crisis, many Europeans have been forced to accept temporary contracts or permanent part-time jobs when they would rather work on a full-time, permanent basis. In many cases, the part-time or temporary contracts do not offer a path to full-time work. In some countries, low salaries also put the working poor at risk of falling into poverty."

Unsurprisingly, the problem is particularly severe along the European periphery, where the recovery from the 2008 financial crash has been haltingly uneven.

“Jobs that do not offer much security can be found almost everywhere in the European Union, but they are particularly prevalent in the south, such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, where the unemployment crisis was more severe and the economic recovery more fragile. In addition, the structure of the economy in Southern Europe is more conducive to the creation of such precarious jobs.”

Countries in central and eastern Europe are also struggling, though Southern Europe bore the brunt of the crisis’s impact.

“Countries in Central and Eastern Europe like Poland and Bulgaria also have high rates of temporary employment or jobs with low salaries. But unemployment rates rose faster in Southern Europe, where the crisis hit harder. High unemployment and insufficient economic growth in that region exposed the fragility of the banking sectors in several countries, raised questions about the sustainability of their public and private debts, and created a fertile ground for the emergence of anti-system political parties that could threaten the survival of the eurozone.”

While a surge in temporary-job creation is normal during the early stages of an economic recovery, the fact that temporary jobs continue to edge out quality full-time work could ripple out through the broader economy as consumers see their spending power curtailed by low wages and a lack of a benefits.

“The creation of temporary and precarious forms of employment is a normal phenomenon during the early stages of an economic recovery.


Over time, however, they could drag down an economy by limiting the room for growth in domestic demand, for example. In addition, rising income inequality feeds growing social and political tensions.


While unemployment rates are dropping across the board, issues such as job insecurity, low pay, long-term unemployment, and few opportunities for training or career advancement could weigh down Southern Europe's incipient economic recovery.”

Pundits have touted Emmanuel Macron’s victory over Marine Le Pen as evidence that the populist wave in European politics has crested for now; but the economic conditions that enabled the rise of populism haven’t changed.

Indeed, nearly half of the French population voted for one of the two anti-globalization candidates. Expect these policies to continue to resonate as more and more workers are robbed of the dignity and security that accompanies reliable full-time work.


Ed Jobb (not verified) Wed, 07/05/2017 - 04:22 Permalink

But the bankers will still lend you thosands u can't afford, even on a temp job.We/they are so fucked!

Sudden Debt Wed, 07/05/2017 - 04:25 Permalink

The reason why companies hire temp workers, even those that they want to have for a steady job, is because then they don't have to pay for social security.It's actually pretty simple: If a company hires it's staff as temp workers who aren't temp, they're saying to their employees: fuck you.And I've seen it so many times, companies with temp workers never run well. The employees are never motivated 

Ghordius Sudden Debt Wed, 07/05/2017 - 05:31 Permalink

"And I've seen it so many times, companies with temp workers never run well. The employees are never motivated"bingo!but... some corporations don't need to be run well. they don't even need to make profits, or look like they will ever have profits, for criminy!and... what is the common thing all those corps have? they get their "love" (see: funds) from the stock market (directly, and from lobbyism and political favours in form of industrial policy and favourable taxation indirectly)Uber or SNAP... they are not the kind of companies you are used to work with/for, Sudden Debtyou work in a typical continental european business environment: small/medium, with a serious need for motivated workers, all pushing for making ends meet and having profits from real business, if not just because the state has to take a formidable tax out of your work, too

In reply to by Sudden Debt

Sudden Debt Ghordius Wed, 07/05/2017 - 06:26 Permalink

Well, I used to work for a paycheck myself, and most of my motivation came from my paycheck. The more I made the harder I worked.All that bullshit that higher pay doesn't motivate.... BS!I pay more, I expect more and they deliver and we have fun at the office. But I don't doubt you're right for 100%! This stockmarket needs to crash hard to companies get to realize that happyness is everything and efficient.That's how Ford became big, he made sure all his employees could buy the cars they made and BOOM! The golden ages of America started.Now, the CEO wants to make most and doesn't care about the rest... and the economy is slacking.I'm pretty sure it's all connected.Burnouts and depressions? That almost didn't exist 2 decades ago! People need to worry to much! Now we have FLEXJOBS, a wonderfull invention.... where people can work a few hours for this company, a few hours for that company... nothing stable... how do you build a carreer and a life with that?It's all criminal

In reply to by Ghordius

Vendetta Sudden Debt Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:08 Permalink

"...most of my motivation came from my paycheck. The more I made the harder I worked."Yeah... till you 'get' to work continuous 75 to 84 hour work weeks for years on end and all the money piles up and you find yourself burned out with no life, divorced with ex running off with all the money and paid off house from biased court system and then laid off as a nice last  kick in the balls  ... all as a temp employee with no choice regarding the hours ... with one of biggest companies in the world.  Immelt is running off with his millions upon millions.  Now Gump seems a lot smarter going for being a shrimping boat capt. Only poetic justice I find is now the direct hires who laid me off after so much ball busting demands on me (while currying favor to the politically connected with them) ... now their heads are on the chopping block (who cares if they purchased a home and made a life in a city somewhere in the US) and they have youngins..... what comes around goes around... I've lost my abilityto have sympathy for them as they had none for me for years while they went and had quality time with their families ... money only goes so far before something seems to set it on fire (as a figure of speech)

In reply to by Sudden Debt

Fireman Wed, 07/05/2017 - 04:34 Permalink

Map of Ex STASI "Erika" Merkill's migrant muzzlim hordes raping, pillaging and plundering their way across traumatized Germany and the show is just beginning.   "Count" Richard Coudenhove Kalergi’s Plan outlined by Gerd Honsik “Kalergi proclaims the abolition of the right of self-determination, ... the elimination of nations by means of ethnic separatist movements or mass allogeneic (genetically dissimilar) immigration to create a multiethnic flock without quality, easily controllable by the ruling class. Kalergi characterized the multiethnic flock as cruel and unfaithful but maintained the elite must deliberately create them in order to achieve their own superiority: ‘Then the elite will first eliminate democracy – the rule of the people. Next, the elite will eliminate the people via miscegenation, thereby replacing the ruling white race with an easily controllable mestizo race. By abolishing the principle of equality of all before the law, avoiding and punishing any criticism of minorities, and protecting minorities with special laws, the masses will be suppressed.’' 

Glyndwr will return Wed, 07/05/2017 - 05:23 Permalink

Nothing changes until borders are back under control and until money printing stops including fractional reserve and until interest rates normalise. Basically nothing changes until the EU and bankers are gone .

RockySpears Wed, 07/05/2017 - 04:41 Permalink

"Poland and Bulgaria also have high rates of temporary employment or jobs with low salaries "   But the chart shows these are not even close on the scale of temp workers, Bulgaria has very low part-time work 0 -5% amd Poland is in the highest rank at 20 - 25%.  There is no chart for "low salary" at all. What is a "low salary"  anyway?  Absolutely depends on where you are living in the world. This article is a mess.  Not worthy. RS

SoDamnMad Wed, 07/05/2017 - 05:13 Permalink

Go to Baltic airports on Sunday night or early Monday morning and watch the workers stream out on Ryanair flights. This article is worthless.

Ghordius Wed, 07/05/2017 - 05:23 Permalink

excellent (but too light-weight/short) article, and indeed this is one of the biggest problems, imo"Indeed, nearly half of the French population voted for one of the two anti-globalization candidates "true. note, in this, that Le Pen's FN coined/used another term, too: Uberizationthat's the "gig-economy"in different terms: a megacorporation calls the worker, devoid of any kind of social net, social labour law, regulation on working hours, whatever was once seen as a "Worker Rights' Accomplishment" whenever it needs him or her... periodlook, I am not a Socialist. but if there is a fastest way to have broad masses streaming towards the banners of Radical Marxism or Radical Fascism/National Socialism, I have yet to find itit's the "Liberal Capitalist" with this kind of ideas that sows the winds of Left/Right Radicalist attempts to revolutionthe difference is always there: the Worker is not the Serf. if you don't see the difference... you are already there, in radical territory

swmnguy Ghordius Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:47 Permalink

Here in the US, much is made of the fact that employment is generally "at-will," and it's a two-way street of consent.Just try to apply that concept in the workplace, however.  When I was an employee, I expected my bosses to abide by the general level of expectations they placed on my.  I took great pains to do that for the people I supervised.  But my having expectations of my bosses was met with great hostility.  Indeed, at my last job (some 14 years ago), the company introduced a revamped performance/pay review system.  I said, "Fine, that's your prerogative, but I expect you to tell me immediately if there's a concern about my job performance.  Don't save it for the annual review.  If you tell me for the first time about a major concern with my job performance in a review, I quit.  On the spot."  He was so offended that I would expect to be treated like a man, by a man, it soured our relationship to the point I started making my way to the exit.In the year or two that followed, I discovered the true market value of my work, and how much my boss had been making from my work.  He discovered how much more others who do what I do get paid.We're seeing the fatal flaws in our current system.  If labor is treated as a commodity, and as an expense to be cut rather than an asset to be cultivated, "labor" and "management" are divided and neither has a stake in the others' success.  That's great for short-term profits but it destroys the economy on the macro-level over time.

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius jamesmmu (not verified) Wed, 07/05/2017 - 06:23 Permalink

 which Islam can't be "reformed"? (without going into what exactly would satisfy you, note)the militant strain that is currently at war with the other militant strain?or that of the friggin billion people that follow it peacefully?seriously, you all talk, courtesy of Breitbart and co., about one billion people and perhaps less then 1% within as if they were the exactly same sideit is a bit as if I was talking about Christendom as if the Roman Catholic Church was the only one, and the Pope the undiscussed leader of the wholeonly... in the case of the Roman Church, I'd be talking about 80% of the whole, not less then 1%

In reply to by jamesmmu (not verified)

brushhog Ghordius Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:25 Permalink

The difference is, the IRA was in Ireland, and the conflict was between the Irish. We dont have to import the fucking IRA and their battle here. Nor would we want to. Tell me, what benefit do we receive from importing islamic extremists, in any number, or their sympathizers? Do you support the IRA? Do you think bringing their war here would be good for America?

In reply to by Ghordius

swmnguy brushhog Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:51 Permalink

Actually, one of the key factors in the settlement of "The Troubles" in Ireland was when Thatcher convinced Reagan to shut down the pipeline of money and weapons from America to the IRA, particularly from the Boston, MA area.  So yes, the fucking IRA and the support for their battle was indeed here.

In reply to by brushhog

brushhog Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:04 Permalink

So lets look at the numbers .We in the US have a labor participation rate of about 62%. That counts people "out of the workforce" who are supposedly not looking for a job. Then we have 5% official "unemployment rate".....those are people without jobs who are supposedly looking. Either way both sets of numbers represent working age people without jobs. Put them together and we have only 57% of the working age population who have a job.But if we take out part-time jobs, thats about 20%, the number goes down to about 45%. Then if we deduct temporary jobs, we get about 39%. There is some cross-over and some double counting so this is not exact but pretty darned close.We are running an economy with only about 39% of the working aged public having a full time job.

Vimes Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:06 Permalink

Most people who work part time do so for their own benefit.Temp jobs is just a result of the open market conditions. If we wish to compete with the rest of the world, we can't afford to be too expensive. Just look at the U.S., all jobs will be moved to locations that offer lower wages. Take it or leave it.

Mimir Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:32 Permalink

Fairly misleading data.Temporary employment is in almost all EU countries concentrated among young workers less than 24 years of age who are entering the labour marked. See below the actual data:,_by_age_and_sex,_persons_15-64,_2015,_annual_data,_per_cent.png The last two parapraphs of the aticle is just the ordinary nonsense regularly published by ZeroHedge .

BuddhistAescetic (not verified) Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:44 Permalink

This temp epidemic is not limited to Europe as you can find it in Canada and the United States. Once again the western oligarchs need to be killed, I haven't had a fulltime real job beyond temporary ones in about ten fucking years!

BuddhistAescetic (not verified) Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:58 Permalink

Temp jobs are where displaced manufacturing workers go to die lead to an economic low reduced wage slaughterhouse.