How is the nature of firms' output fluctuations associated with the firms' preferences between permanent (indefinite term) and temporary (definite term) labor contract? Using plant-level data from the Plant Capacity Utilization (PCU) survey, we explore how manufacturing plants' use of temporary workers is associated with the nature of their output fluctuations and other plant characteristics. We find that plants tend to use temporary workers when their output is expected to fall; this may indicate that firms use temporary workers to reduce costs associated with dismissing permanent employees. In addition, we find that plants whose future output levels are subject to greater uncertainty tend to use more temporary workers. We also examine the effects of wage and benefit levels for permanent workers, unionization rates, turnover rates, seasonal factors, and plant size and age on the use of temporary workers; based on our results, we discuss various views of why firms use temporary workers.