Current Labor Indicators
- Total Unemployment: 6.6%
- College Educated Unemployment: 3.2%
- Total Job Loss/Gain: +113,000
- Temporary Penetration Rate: 2.02%
We are in a period that is unlike any we have ever seen in my 25 years in the professional staffing industry. Moderate GDP growth rates have resulted in a disproportionate share of job growth coming in the temporary staffing sector. The temp penetration rate reached 2.06% in December, surpassing the prior all time high reached at the height of the Y2K, ERP and .com tech trifecta. For the year 2013, fully 10% of total job growth came from temp staffing. These facts alone are significant for our industry and indicate that the Flex Supercycle is real. Tech flex is performing particularly well and we believe the temp penetration rate in Tech is significantly greater than “headline” BLS number, driven by secular shifts as well as the ubiquitous nature of technology today across our client’s business platforms. Professional staffing growth has moved from cyclical to secular as the benefits we bring to the labor markets manifest themselves and our clients are institutionalizing a fixed percentage of their workforce as variable. This is in no small part due to the myriad of economic and regulatory uncertainties, as well as the ever increasing project nature of work, particularly in technology.
In a nutshell, January’s light BLS data was likely driven by the extraordinary degree of widespread, disruptive winter storms. And, in fact, the demand for skilled professionals remained very much intact.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, ADP and Moody Analytics
Click here to download the PDF version of the Blackman Report.