On the heels of a survey finding that a quarter of all employers plan to add temporary staff this quarter comes a forecast that agency staffing will increase 8.7% over last year.
Temp industry consultant G. Palmer & Associates says temp employment will average 2.978 million workers in the fourth quarter. For the last quarter of 2013, the average was 2.739 million, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting temp agencies employed a record 2.934 million workers in September.
“Our forecast for the 2014 fourth quarter follows recent trends, demonstrating growth and indicating another increase in demand for temporary workers, marking the 19th consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases,” says Greg Palmer, founder and managing director of the Newport Beach, California human capital advisory firm.
“The data is also showing that with the advent of lower unemployment rates, labor is tightening, wages in certain categories are increasing, and temp help as a percentage of new job growth is beginning to tapper off.,” he adds. “This points to the likelihood of increases in margins, direct hire and conversion fees in the staffing industry.”
Since the beginning of the year, staffing agencies have added workers at an average of 17,980 a month, a pace exceeded only once since 2000. That was in 2010 the first full year after the official end of the recession when temp expanded at an average of 29,230 workers a month.
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Workers employed by staffing firms now account for 2.1% of the total U.S. workforce, a historic high. In addition, companies employ millions more temporary workers, usually referred to as the contingent workforce. Staffing Industry Analysts estimates that these temps account for somewhat more than 16% of the workforce at most large companies.