With the economy still in the dumps, the staffing industry says it has added more jobs than any other sector. When the economy is bad, temporary workers are the first to be let go. When the economy improves, temporary jobs account for much of the growth.
So, is it boom time for the staffing industry? Yes, says Steven P. Berchem, CEO of the American Staffing Association. Barchem, author of a respected annual economic analysis of the staffing industry, has plenty of insight into the growth.
“U.S. staffing firms created more new jobs than any other industry," Berchem says. He notes that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the temporary-help industry added nearly 500,000 workers between June 2009 and June 2011. It represented more than 90 percent of the nonfarm job growth in that period.
Employers and employees benefit
Both employers and employees should understand the implications of this data, and plan accordingly. Years of research show that "staffing employment is a coincident economic indicator and a leading employment indicator, particularly when the economy is emerging from a recession.”
Industries that are going through big changes—think IT, health care and publishing—also rely heavily on contract workers to do project work. Companies can often more easily determine a temp's output than a full-time employee's. If the contractor is not adding tangible value, it's easier to terminate the relationship.
Employees benefit from increased hiring in the staffing industry. It’s boom time for temporary staffing, compared to other employment sectors and temporary job growth should increase throughout the year.
Unemployed or underemployed job seekers can use temporary work as an entrée into a new position or company. Be aware of temporary hiring trends and cycles. Staffing employment is typically lowest in the beginning of the calendar year, rising as the year progresses and peaking around November or December.
Temporary staffing can be an important part of a company’s HR strategy.
“Many companies used contingent labor as a sustaining force as part of their recession-staffing solution," according to John Rossheim, senior contributing writer for job-search engine and employment website Monster.com. "Since September 2008, when the financial downturn became a crisis, 88 percent of employers have either maintained or increased the size of their non-employee workforce, according to a December 2010 survey by staffing firm Yoh.”
Temporary staffing also draws from a large pool of unemployed jobseekers. According to the BLS, “the number of unemployed and underemployed now totals more than 25 million Americans.” That doesn't count the estimated million discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs.
Anthony Sills is a South Jersey freelance writer who has contributed to The New England Job Show, The Historic Westside and Green City Times. He is currently working on his first book. Anthony blogs for Contently.
image credit: Jeroen van Oostrom