Temp Sector Accounts for 8% Of October Job Growth

Nov 4, 2012

Staffing agencies placed 13,600 more workers in October, growing the overall temp industry to 2.54 million. That’s a 7.7% increase over the last 12 months, and the new hires accounted for 8% of the total jobs created during the month, according to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, in the BLS report issued Friday, September’s numbers were adjusted down from the previous month’s report by 7,100. That essentially makes it a wash for job gains in the temp sector over the last three months.

The broader employment services category, which includes the temp industry, registered a gain in October of 15,800 workers. The 2,200 non-temp jobs came from hiring by professional employment organizations, search firms, registries, and employment placement agencies. Specific data for these sectors isn’t available until a month after the initial report is issued.

In September, executive search firms were down 600 workers, the first decline after six months of gains, which added 2,400 workers. (These counts are for recruiters and other personnel hired and employed by search firms, not the number of individuals they place.) Total search firm employment was 32,900 in September, a gain of 3,100 positions over September 2011.

Overall employment in the search industry is at its highest point in the last 10 years.

Employment placement agencies also shed staff in September, declining by 1,500 workers. Even with that cut, placement agencies have added 10,500 new jobs since the beginning of the year for a total employment count in September of 258,900. That’s an increase of almost 15,000 over September 2011.

Since the beginning of the year, the temp — contract labor — sector has added 144,000 workers, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average monthly increase science January is 14,400. The total number rises to 148,100 using non-seasonally adjusted data. In October alone, the non-seasonally adjusted increase was 56,800 workers.

“Staffing employment growth continues to outpace overall labor market growth as businesses look strategically for higher levels of work force flexibility,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Staffing firms report growth in demand across many sectors, led by increases in demand for higher-skilled talent.”

At the current rate of growth, by next June the number of temp and contract workers will surpass the historical high set in August 2006. That month the BLS reported there were 2.654 million temps at work in the U.S.

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