The number of workers provided by staffing agencies has been on an upward trend with 2.74 million workers employed in October 2013, a gain of 57 percent from August 2009. Meanwhile, all other non-farm payroll jobs are up an average of 4 percent during the same time period. According to staffing industry executives, these increases were realized across an array of positions from secretarial to blue-collar to professional and technical services.
Temp Staffing, by Sector
Experts attribute the strong growth of the staffing sector to employers’ uncertainty of the future and continued sluggish economic growth. Steven Berchem of the American Staffing Association says, “The economic policy uncertainty…has undoubtedly played in role. Uncertainty can be good for the staffing industry.” According to Bercham, during the recession, temp jobs encompassed one in ten jobs, but are now “responsible for more than 16% of net employment gains.”
Temporary Employment vs. Overall Employment Services
The Bureau of Labor Standards expects the employment services industry to grow at a rate two-thirds faster than overall employment, with 631,000 more temp jobs in 2020 than in 2010. In 2013 alone, the American Staffing Association says the number of U.S. workers employed in temporary or contract positions has increased 18.2 percent. In November 2013, staffing employment was up 6.9 percent from the same period in the previous year.
A report by Staffing Industry Analysts showed that spend of contingent labor under management reached $100 billion in 2011, a 16 percent increase from 2010 and indicative of an overall growth trend.
Employment, by Sector
Economists expect temp job numbers to soar for December 2013 and January 2013 as well, partly due to seasonal hiring. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are expected to hire between 720,000 and 780,000 seasonal workers for the 2013 holiday season, a 13 percent increase from 2011. A CareerBuilder survey of 2,099 hiring managers revealed that 39% of retail hiring managers plan on hiring seasonal workers. Also 18% of information technology employers, 16% of leisure and hospitality employers, and 16% of financial service employers plan to hire seasonal workers. Nearly half of all U.S. employers plan to transition seasonal workers into full-time, permanent staff. A variety of types of job seekers will benefit from seasonal hiring, with 17 percent of employers saying that they tend to hire retirees, and 34 percent seek experienced non-retired workers. Another 45 percent target college students.