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USE OF TEMPS IS EXPECTED TO KEEP RISING

SHARE USE OF TEMPS IS EXPECTED TO KEEP RISING

Work-force flexibility and downsizing have prompted increasing use of temporary and part-time employees, and many large firms expect that trend to continue, a new survey finds.

"Contingent workers" - temporary hires, part-timers, free-lancers and independent contractors - currently account for at least one-tenth of the work force at 21 percent of the 91 leading companies that responded to a survey by the Conference Board, a private research group in New York.That's almost double the 12 percent of respondents with that proportion in 1990, and 35 percent of the companies expect to reach that level by the end of the decade, the survey said Sunday.

"Companies that trim their regular work forces are likely to put restraints on hiring but may still allow managers to purchase temporary and contract help to supplement staff and replace lost expertise," said Helen Axel, a Conference Board official and author of a report on the survey.