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Temporary Work Firms Signal Economy’s Health, Direction

Columbus Dispatch (OH) (04/22/12)

The number of temporary help services jobs has become a closely watched bellwether for the U.S. job market. Since hitting bottom in August 2009, the number of temporary jobs has been rising steadily. Combined, U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.8 million temporary and contract workers per day in 2011—up 8% from the previous year, the American Staffing Association reported last month. “Through career counseling, training, employment, and job placement, staffing and recruiting companies add value to people’s lives across every sector and occupation,” says Richard Wahlquist, the association’s president and chief executive officer. Industry sales totaled $98.3 billion in 2011—12.4% more than in 2010.

Cherie Nelson, senior business development manager for Kelly Services, says that “the fact that we are seeing the same slow, cautious increase in our business—meaning staffing of direct-hire, temporary-to-hire, and temporary employees—is a great indicator to me that the economy is on the mend.”