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Fewer Blacks, Hispanics Own Homes In Metro US

IN metropolitan areas across the United States, Asians and Pacific islanders tend to own relatively expensive homes; African-Americans and Hipanics have low home ownership levels; and all three of these groups experience crowded conditions.

These are findings of three recent briefs by the US Census Bureau, using a 1990 population survey.

The median value of homes Asians or Pacific Islanders owned was $184,000 -- double that of homes owned by whites ($91,700). Part of the reason, the Census Bureau reports, is the large concentration of Asian and Pacific islander homeowners in California and Hawaii, two states where median home values were well above the US median. The median value is the amount where the number of homes that are more expensive equals the number that are cheaper.

The median value of homes owned by Hispanics is $84,600 and by African-Americans $55,500.

In the nation's 355 metropolitan areas, only about 4 in 10 of African American and Hispanic-origin householders were owners, the studies find. The ratio for white householders is 2 in 3.

-- Staff

Temp workers abound in corporate offices

THE new secretary -- or accountant or computer programmer -- in the office is more likely than ever to have come from a temporary staffing agency. The National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services (NATSS) reports that employment in the temporary-help industry grew more than 20 percent in 1994.

''Businesses are concentrating on their core business, what they do best,'' says NATSS spokesman Bruce Steinberg says. ''Staffing can be a distraction'' or inefficient use of company resources, he adds. So businesses are more often turning searches over to staffing agencies, Mr. Steinberg says.

Since 1990, the staffing industry has grown from just about 1.2 million employees to nearly 2 million employees, about 60 percent growth.

Because of regulations that make it difficult to discharge employees -- as well as the cost of paying benefits to full-time employees -- many companies are finding staffing agencies' no-strings-attached aspect attractive, Steinberg says. Often, ''temps'' do win permanent employment.

-- Leslie Albrecht Popiel, Washington

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