Staffing index in Canada reaches pre-recession high


Staffing levels in Canada returned to their pre-recession highs.
Staffing levels in Canada returned to their pre-recession highs.

Among industrialized countries, Canada has fared well in the wake of the global recession. The nation's economic growth has grown steadily, as its more conservative banking standards helped prevent the worldwide credit crunch from affecting its economic health.

Underscoring how the Canadian economy continues to recover from the recession, the Canadian staffing index hit its pre-recession high in March. The index helps policymakers understand how demand for employment agencies is faring, and the recent spike suggests the Canadian economy is maintaining its pace of expansion, according to Bryan Toffey, the president of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS), which oversaw the study.

The Canadian staffing index rose to 107 in March, according to the organization. At such a figure, the index has remained above 100 for six consecutive months. Experts said that the latest reading showed how the Canadian economy is surpassing its pre-recession levels.

"The strong readings from the index continue to demonstrate that Canada's economy remains on firm footing despite tepid economic growth from the U.S. and continued concerns over the threats from the European debt crisis," Toffey said in a statement. "With the exception of a large run-up of the index in the fourth quarter of 2011, we are nearing an all-time high and ACSESS continues to advocate the index as an excellent leading indicator of the strength of the Canadian economy."

Moreover, experts noted that the 100 figure serves as a benchmark for the index, as it was achieved in July 2008, right as the housing and financial crises began to cause widespread panic in global markets. The index has never topped 107, and economists are hopeful that the Canadian labor market will continue to stage a recovery throughout the course of this year.

Staffing Industry Analysts, which conducts the index survey, said that the March reading was 42 basis points higher than the low of 65, which the index registered in May 2009. Timothy Landhuis, a research analyst at SIA, said "the index is 13 basis points - or 14 per cent - higher than March of 2011 which was 12 basis points - or 15 per cent - higher than March of 2010."

The index reading represents a mean of the number of hours performed by contract employees or workers from temporary staffing agencies.