Reflecting the increasingly austere business climate, part-time and temporary employees now make up roughly a quarter of the workforce, according to government figures released Tuesday.

The number of nonregular employees — part-time, temporary or contract workers — reached a record 14.5 million in 2002, according to a labor ministry report on labor economics.

The report puts the total size of the workforce at 63.2 million, including 34.9 million regular, full-time employees. It says the number of nonregular employees was nearly twice the corresponding figure for 1987, when there were 7.4 million.

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