Temporary staffing jumped 7 percent in May compared with the same period last year, according to data from the American Staffing Association. This, says Ben Stone, executive director at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, is indicative of a growing economy.
"It's usually the first sign," he said. "It's a first step back. It's a stepping stone toward hiring a permanent person."
Adding jobs, whether they are full-time or temporary, allows businesses to spend more money, and in turn positively affects the health of the economy as a whole. However, the temporary jobs that many workers signed on to have yet to become the permanent jobs in a way many economists assumed, the Press Democrat reports.
According to the news source, Robert Eyler, head of the Center for Regional Economic Analysis at Sonoma State University, said employers are still feeling the weight of the economic downturn, which is influencing their decision to steer away from full-time hires.
"The longer it lingers, the less it looks like the companies are willing to take on benefits packages, training programs," Eyler said. "They want the ability to walk away from that worker if they need to, and thus keep them in the temporary status."
Annual revenues for staffing agencies, which derive a bulk of their profit from temporary job placements, are expected to jump by double digits in 2012, the media outlet stated. This growth has led many to expand their services, even as placement in permanent jobs remains below pre-recession levels. In the Sonoma, California area, temporary staffing has increased in the wine, professional services, accounting and finance and hospitality industries, which could be attributed to seasonal summer hires.
Although these jobs typically don't come with the benefits that permanent jobs offer, they do allow job seekers to make contacts who could help them land a job later.
"For many people, having half a loaf is better than none," Stone said. "It may not be as good as the last job you had if it was permanent, with benefits, but it's a way back."
Temporary hiring will likely pick up in the coming weeks, as benefit checks for long-term unemployed will soon expire.