Counting Temporary Workers


by Rachel Vilsack

The Employment Services sector, which includes job placement and temporary staffing agencies, is often a leading indicator of economic trends. Firms experiencing downturns in business demand before a  recession may lay off temp workers before cutting permanent staff. Then, as business conditions improve, temp agency employment  increases as firms slowly increase their staff levels (without adding to their permanent payrolls). While this industry’s employment level does not necessarily predict a recession or its recovery, the industry generally rises and falls with the larger labor market.  The concept of “just-in-time labor” allows firms to use labor when it is needed without assuming the costs associated with full-time workers.

 

What happens in the Employment Services sector gives us a glimpse into the types of economic changes that are occurring; therefore, knowing the types of jobs that are found in this industry gives us a sense of where full-time job hiring is occurring, or likely to occur in the near future.

figThis figure shows the types of  jobs that are common in the Employment Services sector. The high concentration of production, office and administrative support, and transportation and material moving occupations suggests the kinds of workers that are most commonly being placed by staffing firms.

A closer look at the detailed occupations employed in the Employment Services sector reveals the following top 10 professions with the highest concentration:

With over-the-year jobs in the Employment Services sector growing at 13.5 percent in July 2013, compared to the 2.4 percent private sector job growth in Minnesota, it’s clear that job seekers are finding opportunities in this industry.

 

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