The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that temporary positions grew by 14,000 in July. Despite this, the unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.3%. The fastest growth in U.S. temporary payrolls in more than a year also lifted the temp penetration rate — the percentage of temps in the workforce — to its highest level in more than five years.
The good news for the country may not be as positive locally. In the last month for which local numbers are available, June 2012, temporary jobs in Providence-Fall River remained flat. Unemployment continued at 10.1%.
Approximately 2.5 million American jobs are classified as temporary or contract. In an uncertain economy, employers often choose to cut their regular staff levels to the bone and hire special staff for project-based assignments. Not all of these positions are low-end, low pay or short term. Temporary assignments include executive consulting and temp to hire professionals.
Some analysts are predicting that temporary staffing may grow to more than 2% of the workforce in the near term. The very growth of temporary staffing may be a good sign for the whole economy. Temporary staffing has, in the past, been a bellwether of workforce growth and decline. This bellwether appears to be leading us in the right direction.