When the Great Recession blew through the U.S. in 2007, certain industries felt the brunt of it more so than others, with the construction and manufacturing industries losing jobs by the thousands while healthcare employment remained strong. Now, as the majority of industries creep back from the depths of the recession, one sector is surging ahead of even healthcare and education: Temporary help.
According the U.S. News and World Report, the temporary help workforce hit a peak in 2006, with nearly 2.7 million temporary workers active in the U.S. During the recession, this number dwindled to one-third that amount, but unlike other industries, the temporary staffing sector has made an about face and recouped 87 percent of jobs that were lost in the downturn. This is compared to the average of all private employers, which have regained only half the jobs that were lost.
"It's very significantly punching over its weight," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at accounting firm J.H. Cohn, speaking on the industry's flourishing employment.
While some may see the resurgence of temporary jobs - which often only last a few months - as a bane in jobs reports, the growth could actually suggest overall employment growth is on the horizon, the media outlet stated.
"What you generally see is that temporary help agency employment tends to grow as we head into a recession and as we head out of a recession," said Arne Kalleberg, a professor of sociology at University of North Carolina who specializes in America's workforce.
The pickup in temp hiring could be attributed to a number of positive business factors, such as a heavier amount of work that needs to be done, and also suggests companies are in a better position as they spend more on new workers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, temporary workers have become an integral part of the U.S. workforce in the last few decades. In 1983, temp help made up only half a percent of all employment. That figure has now surged to 2.3 percent which, although it might appear small, is a significant increase.
In the most recent BLS jobs report, the temporary help services sector continued to trend up, adding 14,000 new jobs in July.