The number of US temporary help services jobs rose by 14,700, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The temp penetration reached another new high of 2.13%. In the Fourth Quarter of 2014, 57,400 new temporary jobs were created. This number represents over 17% of the jobs that were created in December and pushes the current numbers of temporary workers to just ten thousand shy of three million workers!
Seventeen percent is actually very high. Although some months as much as 24% of new jobs created were temporary in nature. However, it is hard to ignore the trends. There is a much higher percentage of creation of temporary jobs than most others. In fact, over the three years, one in ten jobs is considered temporary!
Every single month of 2014 saw an increase in the number of temporary workers. If it keeps up at this pace, could 2.5, 3 or 3.5 % of all employees be temp workers? If the last few years are a predictor of the next few, the answer is most certainly yes.
The business reasons are many. Work is becoming temporary in nature. Scaling up typically follows a ramp down. Work is more about projects than ever before. We ramp up to get big shipments out the door or to implement big projects. Then we scale back.
A business that uses temps has a great advantage to work with talent before committing. In a tightening job market (Yes, we are almost at a natural employment state of 5.5%), this is an effective and productive means of viewing and observing talent while working. This is a great way to select the best performers over time for core roles and functions.
The numbers of roles that are temporary are increasing because every job and pay grade in the company is now a possibility. With specialization in staffing firms and shifting workforce views, being a temporary President, CFO, or scientist is more and more accepted—even coveted!