Job growth in the temp sector accounted for 12.3% of November’s overall 146,000 jobs increase, according to numbers released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The data, part of the monthly government jobs report, put the number of workers in temporary and contract positions at 2.56 million, a 7.7% increase since November 2011. In the same period, overall employment in the U.S. increased 1.4%; a total increase of 1.89 million non-farm jobs, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The temp workforce increased by 182,800 workers.
In addition, the BLS said the number of workers employed by search firms and placement agencies has also been on the rise. Search firm hires for the 12 months since October 2011 rose by 5,500 workers. Placement agencies increased their staffs during that same period by 13,600 workers. Data for both groups is through October 2012, the most for which numbers on these two sectors is available.
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Search firms now employ more workers than at any time in the last decade, a sign both of an improving economy as well as the growing reliance of employers on outside recruiters.
Temp employment, which is nearing its all time high of 2.66 million reached in August 2006, is likely to grow right through that milestone before summer’s end. In fact, the BLS says the entire employment services industry — search, placements, registries, temp, etc. — is on a strong growth trajectory. In an industry analysis earlier this year, the BLS wrote:
The employment services industry, which comprises employment placement agencies, temporary help services, and professional employer organizations, is projected to add 631,300 jobs, an annual rate of increase of 2.1 percent, and reach 3.3 million by 2020, placing this industry among those with the largest projected employment growth. The industry also is projected to be among those with the fastest real output growth rate, 3.8 percent annually, increasing by $71.6 billion, to reach $229.3 billion
by 2020. The demand for information technology, healthcare, and temporary help services is driving growth in this industry.