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For many Americans, 'Temp' work becomes permanent way of life | First Coast News

21 April 2014—Kevin Cahill, Center's Research Economist was mentioned on

For Americans who can't find jobs, the booming demand for temp workers has been a path out of unemployment, but now many fear it's a dead-end route....

More alarming to economists, long-term temps also miss out on the opportunity to develop a nest egg for a comfortable retirement.

"It's almost entirely the burden of the individual," said Kevin Cahill, a labor economist with the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College.

The potential hit to Social Security benefits is two-fold, he said. Since Social Security benefits are based on your earnings over your work history, both low-paying temp work or a gap in employment — a combination many of today's "permatemps" face — can drag down a worker's future payments.

These workers also may not have access to a corporate 401(k) plan. Even if they do, they might not be paid enough to be able to put any away for retirement. There's certainly no employer match.

"Folks who turn to temporary employment because full-time employment is lacking have been hit extra hard. They've lost time to accumulate savings and could very well bleed down their savings during their job search."

This is what happened to Dupuy, who said he used his 401(k) funds to stay afloat during his unemployment. "I figure I'm going to be working way beyond 65 or 67 or whatever it is these days," he said. "I just know it's going to be really hard." ...

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