How are people supposed to take care of their families on month-to-month contract jobs - and why doesn't anyone seem to care?
Companies have hired more temps for four straight months. Yet they remain reluctant to make permanent hires because of doubts about the recovery's durability.
Even companies that are boosting production seem inclined to get by with their existing workers, plus temporary staff if necessary.
"I think temporary hiring is less useful a signal than it used to be," says John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. "Companies aren't testing the waters by turning to temporary firms. They just want part-time workers."
The reasons vary. But economists and business people say the main obstacle is that employers lack confidence that the economic rebound has staying power. Many fear their sales and the overall economy will remain weak or even falter as consumers spend cautiously.
Companies also worry about higher costs related to taxes or health care measures being weighed by Congress and statehouses. That's what Chris DeCapua, owner of employment firm Dawson Careers in Columbus, Ohio, is hearing from clients.
DeCapua says corporate demand for temporary workers has surged. That's especially true for manufacturing-related jobs involving driving forklifts, assembling products, packing merchandise and loading it on trucks.
Yet that demand hasn't spilled over into a demand for permanent workers. And DeCapua doesn't see it turning around anytime soon.