Jonathan Weisman's Oct. 11 front-page article cited the experiences of three long-term temporary auto workers in Kentucky as though they were typical of the more than 2 million people who work as temporary employees on a given day. They are not.

Temporary employees, on average, work for less than three months, during which time they enjoy flexibility and independence, receive valuable experience, and earn competitive wages. And more than 70 percent go on to permanent jobs after working as temporary employees.

Temporary employment has a powerful effect on the economy, even though it makes up only 2 percent of jobs. Economists and policymakers across the political spectrum -- including the Council of Economic Advisers under presidents Clinton and Bush, as well as Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan -- have credited flexible labor markets and temporary jobs as key in keeping U.S. unemployment low and encouraging businesses to create new jobs.

The recent increase in temporary employment is good for workers and the economy because employers typically hire more temporary workers in the early stages of a recovery, a practice that historically has predicted far greater growth in permanent jobs.

RICHARD A. WAHLQUIST

President and Chief Executive

American Staffing Association

Alexandria