A portmanteau of precarious or precarity and proletariat, precariat is a term used by social scientists to refer to the mass of people living in precarity, namely without security, whether physical, food-, or employment-related, and often all three.

The term has risen to popularity in the academic jargon of recent years, especially with reference to a growing class of at-will employees, such as temp and dispatch workers, in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 and after. These workers can be fired at any moment with little or no warning, and often are. Repeatedly. Precarious indeed.

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