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Temporary Jobs Forecast: 2009-2010

Temporary Jobs Forecast: 2009-2010

John Rossheim | Monster Senior Contributing Writer

Staffing agencies, especially smaller ones that routinely take out short-term loans to make payroll, are stretched. “Nobody’s able to get loans, and we can’t afford to float a $2,000 weekly billing for an admin,” says Mackey. “This is why the temp market is in gridlock.”

These difficult financial conditions are not likely to abate quickly. “While the credit crunch is not getting worse right now, it is very tight,” says Shierholz.

For some of the nation’s 20,000 staffing firms, the strain has been too much. “A lot of staffing companies have gone under in the last couple of years,” reports consultant Bruce Steinberg.

What does this mean for temps? When signing up with an agency, check into the firm’s ability to make payroll, and try to determine the scope of opportunities they’ll eventually be able to offer you. If they’ve failed at maintaining client relationships through these hard times, they may be doomed.

Where the Temping Recovery May Have Already Begun

Despite all this doom and gloom, some sectors of temporary employment have begun to show signs of life:

  • • “There’s been a pickup in light industrial and seasonal retail hiring, and an uptick in IT,” says Brendan Courtney, a division president at staffing firm Spherion.
  • • “Consumer products companies, insurance and, ironically, the banking industry are starting to hire temps,” says Mackey.
  • • “You find a lot of temporary healthcare jobs to cope with varying patient census levels,” says Steinberg.
  • • “Consulting firms are looking for admin/support people, and the market for secretaries is picking up a little bit,” says Mackey.

Looking Ahead

American companies remain deeply uncertain about whether sustainable growth will materialize anytime soon. This will most likely temper employers’ desire to renew their growth by bringing on temporary workers.

“The devastation of the first two quarters of 2009 will linger in people’s minds and on their P&L statements,” says Mackey.

Next year may bring a positive turn for temping opportunities but probably not a steep climb. “We may have an extended period of flatness,” says Courtney. “So 2010 will not be a recovery year, but it will be better than 2009.”

What’s the bottom-line forecast? Staffing industry analysts predict that 2010 will see a 5 percent increase in staffing activity.

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