Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canadian Staffing Index: A Leading Indicator of Economic Recovery

The Canadian employment rate is heading in the right direction and temporary staffing is leading the way!

Last week, the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS), in conjunction with independent research firm Staffing Industry Analysts, released a new groundbreaking monthly index that tracks temporary employment across Canada. The Canadian Staffing Index reported consistent job growth for several months as far back as May 2009. Statistics Canada then followed with the news that 25,000 Canadian jobs were created during the month of February 2010.

It’s a well known fact that Statistics Canada’s job creation numbers are a lagging indicator of the economy, however, it is believed that the new Canadian Staffing Index, which measures temporary help hours, will provide a real-time barometer of employment activity and a reliable leading indicator of near-future full-time job creation.

The March 12, 2010, the Labour Force Survey produced by Statistics Canada says that “employment has been on an upward trend since July 2009 (+159,000 jobs),” and that “this contrasts with the sharp drop of 417,000 between the peak in October 2008 and July 2009.”

In comparison, the Canadian Staffing Index shows that temporary employment hours were on an upward trend three months ahead of the more traditional Labour Force and Unemployment data.(http://www.acsess.org/NEWS/IndustryPress-Feb8-2010.asp)

It’s interesting to note that the lagging Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey and the current Canadian Staffing Index both confirm that employment peaked in October of 2008. Had the Staffing Index been in place at that time, the decline in temporary personnel hours may have provided an ominous foreboding of the devastating job losses that ultimately followed. It only makes sense considering that temporary workers are typically the first to be cut back in slow periods and the first to return in a recovery.

Temporary staffing is primarily used by business managers to hedge against the uncertainties and fluctuations in the economy. Other research data shows that temporary employment will often transition to regular full-time employment when the work requirements become more consistent and predictable.

The Canadian Staffing Industry Index is a reliable tool for business managers, economists and governments in their development of policy and decision making. The names of the actual survey participants and the individual companies’ data is kept confidential, administered by an independent research firm, Staffing Industry Analysts, but we know that no other survey of its type with such an extraordinarily high percentage of the total market share has ever been collected or reported on in Canada.

All of our companies within Design Group Staffing Inc., including The People Bank, Placement Group, Design Group Technical Staffing, Allen Professional Search, INTEQNA, Aimco Industrial Staffing, The Medical Recruitment Network and La Banque de Personnel participate in the submission of confidential and timely data. When our data is combined with the other respondents’ data, the survey provides trends and hours worked by over 30,000 employees. Now that’s a sample size to be reckoned with!

We will continue to deliver future Canadian Staffing Index results through future editions of the Staffing Insider. The way things are going, we predict that the next Canadian Staffing Index will verify that there is more job growth in the current month. That’s because we are busy…so you will be, too.

This article was written by Steve Jones and published during the week of March 15, 2010 in the Staffing Insider, a regular email broadcast produced by The People Bank, Aimco, Allen Professional Search, La Banque de Personnel and the Medical Recruitment Network.

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