4th Q Temp, Perm Hiring ‘Most Optimistic’ Since Recession

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Oct 4, 2012

Staffing and temp hiring will continue to be robust during this last quarter of 2012, a new survey from CareerBuilder predicts. Besides finding that fully a third of employers expect to add temp staff from now to the end of the year, the survey said 26 percent of employers expect to be adding permanent, full-time workers to their payrolls.

The permanent hiring percentage rivals that for the same quarter pre-recession, and is a full 5 points higher than the 21 percent last year who predicted their company would be adding permanent staff.

“This is the most optimistic fourth quarter projection since 2007,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “We’re seeing continued evidence of stability and growth in the U.S. job market.  A dramatic upswing in hiring is not likely to happen in the near term, but we’re setting the stage for better job creation in 2013 and beyond.”

Temp hiring, which has been a leader in jobs growth in the U.S. for more than a year, was strong in the 3rd quarter, the CareerBuilder survey found. Last  quarter, 38 percent of employers brought on temps. While the 4th quarter prediction is for fewer companies to hire temps, the third that say they will is still six points hire that last year’s 27 percent.

The survey also found 23 percent expect to transition some contract or temporary staff into permanent into permanent jobs during this quarter.

Overall, temp hiring is on track to beat by a wide margin the hiring levels employers predicted in an earlier CareerBuilder survey. In the Mid-Year Job Forecast published a few months ago, 21 percent of HR leaders and hiring managers said they expected to hire temps or contract workers in the last half of this year.

As it does each quarter, CareerBuilder surveyed more than 2,000 employers nationwide, hearing from 2,494 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,976 workers across industries and company sizes.  The survey not only found employers and workers more optimistic about hiring over the last three months of this year, but it also found employers added more staff in the 3rd quarter than they earlier predicted.

CareerBuilder says 32 percent of employers reported adding staff last quarter. Last year 26 percent said they had made permanent, full-time hires. The percentage is even better than CareerBuilder predicted in its Mid-Year Job Forecast a few months ago. A survey then found 30 percent of the responding HR professionals and hiring managers predicting their companies would be hiring in the 3rd quarter.

The forecast also predicted 44 percent of companies would add permanent staff in the second half of the year.

A larger percentage of companies with more than 500 employees will be hiring permanent, full-timers compared to smaller businesses. Where only 16 percent of the smallest firms — those with fewer than 50 employees — expect to add to their headcount, 34 percent of the larger firms expect to do so.

Holiday hiring is likely to be robust this year, with more temp help hired than in 2011. However, Challenger, Gray & Christmas says the increase will be slight, and below the numbers pre-recession.

“Last year” says the outplacement firm, “retail payrolls saw a non-seasonally adjusted net gain of 660,200 workers from October through December. That was up just 1.9 percent from 2010, when retail employment increased by 647,600 workers during the holiday hiring season. Prior to the recession, from 2004 through 2007, retail employment grew by an average of more than 722,000 over the final three months of the year.”

Since that prediction last month, a few retailers have announced plans to sharply  increase their seasonal staffing over last year. Both Kohl’s and Toys R Us say they will increase their seasonal hiring by more than 10 percent each. That would up their combined temp staffing to more than 100,000. Target, however, says it will hire thousands fewer, bringing on around 70,000 seasonal workers.

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