Labor-market deregulation boils down to three things: weak unions, weak worker protection laws and weak overall employment. In addition to protecting wages and benefits, unions also protect jobs. Union contracts prevent management from indiscriminately firing workers and shifting the burden onto remaining employees. After decades of imposed decline, the United States currently has the fourth-lowest private sector union membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
America's low rate of union membership partly explains why unemployment rose so fast and, - thanks to hectic productivity growth - hiring has been so slow.
Proponents of labor-market flexibility argue that it's easier for the private sector to create jobs when the transactional costs associated with hiring and firing are reduced. Perhaps fortunately, legal protections for American workers cannot get any lower: US labor laws make it the easiest place in the word to fire or replace employees, according to the OECD.
Another consequence of labor-market flexibility has been the shift from full-time jobs to temporary positions. In 2010, 26 percent of all news jobs were temporary - compared with less than 11 percent in the early 1990's recovery and just 7.1 percent in the early 2000's.