June 4, 2010 in Business

Spokane area seeing rise in temp worker hiring

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Jobless rates stall

Idaho’s May unemployment fell one-tenth of a percent to 9 percent, state economists said Friday. Kootenai County’s rate was 9.9 percent, identical to April. It was 7.9 percent in May 2009.

Spokane-area staffing companies say they’re seeing a gradual uptick in hiring similar to job gains reported across the country.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday said staffing firms placed 31,000 jobs nationwide in May, accounting for 76 percent of all private sector job growth. The private sector added 41,000 jobs in May.

In the largest job spurt last month, 411,000 short-term workers were hired for the 2010 Census, according to the BLS.

Across the Inland Northwest the primary sectors adding jobs were manufacturing, financial services and some service industries, said Nancy Nelson, president of staffing firm Humanix. The firm has offices in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

Employers will continue the “try before you buy” hiring trend, said Dianne LaValley, division director at Accountemps, a Spokane firm. She’s seen steady hiring this year, mostly for temporary jobs.

Firms realize they’ve stretched workers with more hours and tasks during the recession, she said. Their solution is turning to temp workers to carry some of the load.

Many temps end up getting full-time jobs, she added.

Nelson said that despite getting busier, Humanix isn’t adding extra positions. Company workers are doing their own support work – sending faxes or doing research. In a better economy Humanix would have hired more office staff, she said.

Many of the temporary workers Humanix places are hired on an ongoing basis, meaning the employer may keep them on indefinitely, Nelson said.

“This year I’d say we’re placing about 20 percent more workers (through Humanix) than a year ago,” Nelson said.


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