Part Timers Spur Economy

Any job growth helps retailers, because it puts money in the pockets of consumers. At least one expert predicts a dramatic increase in part time workers as 2010 progresses; from the current 13 percent of employees to 39 percent this year. “This is good news for boomers, seniors and retirees, as these demographics are often more likely to be hired on a part time, temporary or project assignment basis,” says Art Koff, founder of, a job and information service for Americans 50 and older.

Many older workers do not require the company benefits of younger, full time employees, which can help hold costs in check at the firm. This group is often in a better position than their younger counterparts, who must receive company benefits for themselves and their families. The number of Americans working part time, or temporary jobs for economic reasons (mostly because they are unable to find full time jobs), has doubled since the recession began, to 9.2 million workers. It’s a trend that sees America catching up to Europe, where employers use a much higher percentage of temporary and part time workers than their U.S. counterparts.

While jobs are still tough to find, there are ways for boomers and retirees to maximize the opportunity. “Temp employment and freelancing are two of the few sectors of the labor market that are growing rapidly, and should be explored by all job seekers, regardless of age or the type of position that’s sought,” Koff says.

In 2009, firms like Kelly Services, Aerotek, Adecco and Manpower placed many thousands, including company presidents, lawyers, controllers, sales managers and senior level managers, in assignments that paid anywhere from $80,000 to several hundred thousand dollars a year. Retirees and boomers who have the skills and experience can often find many project assignments, and earn more than if they worked for a single company. These types of jobs usually provide no health insurance, sick days, vacation, retirement benefits, severance, access to unemployment insurance or stock options for top level executives; all of which makes them a particularly good fit for many older workers, who can accept temporary or retirement jobs without benefits.