New studies have revealed that there are more temporary employees — commonly known as ‘temps’ — working today than ever before.
According to an August 31 New York Times article, the Bureau of Labor statistics recently found that there are a record 2.87 million temps working across the country, accounting for 2% of the U.S.’s workforce.
Some experts consider rises in temporary employment to be a general indication of economic improvement — and while labor groups are concerned about temporary employees’ ability to secure long-term, full-time employment with benefits, many employers end up offering their temps full-time positions with the company anyway.
“The industry moves right in tandem with GDP, when you see labor numbers improving you can expect the next GDP report to show increases as well. Staffing services for temp workers are used for different reasons, early in the economic cycle companies use staffing agencies because it is a low risk way to keep up with demand without making long term decisions about employment – usually employers are a bit gun shy after going through a economic down turn,” says Dane Reese, CEO of People Axiom. “Currently we’re pretty deep into recovery, at this point staffing sources are used more for a tightening labor movement – our customers really need help finding staff for their business. Staffing agencies help by allowing businesses with making low risk decisions that can eventually turn into full time employment.”
The New York Times went on to report that the actual role of temporary workers is evolving, as well — whereas they traditionally filled positions in the business and finance sector, today approximately 42% of temporary employees work in warehouses or jobs with light manual work.
But that isn’t to say that businesses still see temporary workers from staffing agencies as a viable option in the hiring process.
“This is a reflection of business uncertainty, that businesses need to be more responsive, and part of that is keeping their work force flexible,” Steven Berchem, chief operating officer of the American Staffing Association, told the New York Times. “Certainly staffing employment has grown, and it has returned to prerecession levels.”