It’s generally been considered a sign of good things on the horizon when you hear about an increase in the number of temp jobs. These non-committal hires are usually a sign of employers tip-toeing back into a period of stability or even growth. That’s why the latest Labor Department numbers have some prognosticators scratching their heads.
According to the Labor Dept., temp jobs are now up over 22% from the same time last year. However, the overall job market has only grown by a minuscule 0.2% during the same period. While even minimal growth is still better than nothing, there is not usually such a lag between an increase in temp jobs and similar growth in the job market.
CNN discussed the issue with Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association:
In previous recessions, the overall job market rebound followed that of the temp industry by about six to 12 months, he said.
But it’s been 12 months since the temp industry started to pick up and there are still few signs of an overall jobs recovery.
Among the factors scaring off businesses from hiring, Wahlquist lists “mixed economic data, sweeping new financial and health care reforms and uncertainty about the expiring Bush tax cuts.”