Our guest blogger is Isha Vij, a research assistant for the Economic Policy Team at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated better than expected job gains for both total nonfarm and private sector workers, with the economy adding 117,000 jobs overall. The data for temporary help workers, however, does not leave us with the same optimism for job growth going forward.
In July, employers added a mere 300 temporary help jobs. Temporary employment is usually a leading indicator that companies are going to be hiring in the coming months. And for workers who are unable to find full time work, temping can help them avoid being out of work altogether. When companies add temporary workers, we typically see clear gains in overall private sector employment in the months that follow.
For example, in the winter of 2009/2010, businesses added about 50,000 jobs each month. The following spring, we saw the sharpest growth in private sector employment in the recovery so far. Compare this to November 2008, when more than 100,000 temporary help jobs were lost. Private sector employment plummeted in the months afterwards, dropping an average of about 750,000 for the following five months.
The latest temporary help jobs numbers, though showing no major losses, are indicative of feeble jobs growth in the coming months.