U.S. staffing company shares declined on Friday after a government jobs report showed fewer jobs were created last month than economists had forecast. However, the government report held some evidence that the temporary staffing business is holding up well. Temporary payrolls increased by 21,000 in April, and the temporary penetration rate rose to 1.88% of the total U.S. work force, the highest since August 2007. Analysts and staffing industry observers expect that rate to eventually surpass record levels above 2% as more employers choose flexible or project-based staffing in a choppy economic environment.
“Companies are hiring differently,” says Joanie Ruge, chief employment analyst at Randstad Holding US. “We might see that temporary penetration rate hit historical highs. Most of that is driven by the professional sector.” Ruge notes that professional areas like engineering and information technology are showing the strongest demand for workers.