Temporary Penetration Rate Reaches New High in August

Nolan Gray Market Trends, Staffing

The U.S. added 13,000 temporary positions in August, and the penetration rate rose to hit a record-setting 2.08 percent, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Temporary jobs grew 8.01 percent year-over-year in August.

The jobs data for August generally was perplexing to some analysts, as it underperformed against expectations, according to a MarketWatch poll.

"A gain of only 142,000 new jobs in August, relative to a stronger trend in hiring in previous months of over 200,000 new jobs per month, is somewhat surprising as the economy overall has been quite strong recently," commentary by The Conference Board read. "Still, most likely this was just a one off. For example, some leading indicators, such as part-time employment for economic reasons, dropped. Also, unemployment continued its downward path, closing in on the 5.5 percent natural unemployment rate we expect in 2015."

As key data points show, the economy is likely to continue its recovery despite this hiccup in August job growth. In a recovering environment, the statistics about temporary work may seem incongruous. Conventional wisdom holds that contingent work grows when the economy contracts, but now it continues to increase even as the economy improves. This is good news for staffing firms, but it also imposes certain demands.

Creating and Maintaining Relationships
As companies continue to invest in temporary workers as the economy improves, staffing agencies can bet on receiving consistent business – and often a lot of it. However, to keep this growth constant, it will be necessary to show that not only temporary workers themselves but also staffing firms add value to a company. Organizations are already sold on the importance of contingent workers, as the rising penetration rates show, but staffing firms are in danger of losing business to competitors or nontraditional temporary work arrangements if they do not show clients they are also a vital part of the new economy.

Staffing agencies can offer something unique and important to their clients: solid and informative relationships. Agencies that have a database of candidates with whom they stay in regular contact can give companies the right people for the job every time, not only in terms of skills but also of personality and fit. Using staffing software that adapts customer relationship management processes to the contingent work industry means staffing agencies can hand over notes, interviews, videos and more along with a package of resumes. This kind of relationship-based, personalized service can show clients staffing firms are truly worth their time.

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