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Eurociett February 2014 Agency Work Business Indicator

This is the third month in a row that shows an increasing and positive growth, with a European average now at  3.8%. The newly available and very positive figures from Poland form a significant part (almost half) of that growth,  while also in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy growth has expanded. From the countries that were able  to report new data, only Switzerland experienced a further downturn, from -2.4% to -7.1% y-o-y growth.  


Turnover is mostly growing at a slightly higher growth rate than the number of hours worked, while growth is also  accelerating in most countries.  Again, Poland is the country reporting the most significant growth with 33.9%,  while Norway is the only country reporting a slight decrease in turnover in Q4.  


In  the  last  quarter  of  2013,  EU  unemployment levels rose by 1.9%. This is  clearly  a  slowing down  compared  to  previous  periods.  This  coincides  with  cautious  growth  in  hours  worked by  agency workers, which now sees positive  growth for the third month in a row.     The data continues to display an inverse  relationship  between  unemployment  levels in the EU and the amount of agency  work being carried out. This implies that  agency  work  is  a  leading  indicator of  employment. When agency work grows,  employment  levels  will  generally  start  improving within  3-6  months.  In  other  words,  more  hours  worked  by  agency  workers  does  not  imply rising  unemployment. 

In  the  third  quarter  of  2013  both  GDP  growth  and  evolution  of  hours  worked  were positive again for the first time in  almost two years. These figures show a continuing pattern  between the year on year growth rate of  EU 28 GDP and evolution of the number  of  hours  worked  by  agency workers  in  Europe, meaning that agency work is still  a coincidental economic indicator of GDP growth. 


In January 2014, the number of hours worked by temporary agency workers was 0.49% higher than a month  earlier (seasonally adjusted data, corrected for calendar effects). An increase was observed in the blue collar  segment by 1.78%, a decrease was observed in the white collar segment by -1.29%. In comparison with January  2013, the activity in the temporary agency work industry grew by 2.85% (compared to 0.42% in December 2013)  resulting from a rise in the blue collar segment (hours worked: 7.58%) and a fall in the white collar segment (- 2.78%).    

In December 2013, temporary work turnover increased 3% (year on year, number of days work adjusted). In the  same time, number of hours worked raised by 2.5%. During the year 2013, turnover has decreased -6% and hours  worked has decreased -6.7%. In January 2014, number of temps at work has reduced by 5.3% (in comparison with  January 2013). This decline has been amplified by the trend of the first week. The position of holiday this year  (January 1st) has particularly penalized the month activity. In the detail, Southern regions (PACA and Languedoc Roussillon) have underperformed with respectively -12.2% and -15.5%.  

In period 1 (week 1 – 4) the total amount of hours increased 3% and turnover grew 4%, in comparison to the same  period last year. This period had an equal amount of workable days compared to the same period last year, so no  correction was applied.  • The administrative sector increased 9% in hours and also turnover grew 9% in comparison to the same  period in 2013.   • Hours in the industrial sector decreased 1% and turnover increased 1% compared to the same period last  year.   • Furthermore, the amount of worked hours in the technical sector increased 3% and turnover increased  2%.  
Q3 2013 (quarter 3 July-Sept) for the staffing industry can be characterised by the following examples, compared  with Q3 of 2012:   • 0.7% increase in sales to over SEK 5 billion   • 10% increase in sales in Northern Sweden   • 10% increase in sales of outsourcing   • 6% increase in sales within industry   • 14% increase in sales within health/medical care   • 10% increase in sales within warehousing/logistics    

Agencies’ billings from the employment of temporary/contract staff increased further in December. Having  accelerated since November, the rate of expansion was the sharpest in over 15 years. Survey respondents  commented that growth of temp billings reflected a combination of greater demand from existing clients and the  securing of new contracts. Mirroring the trend observed for permanent staff, the fastest growth of temp billings in  December was recorded in the Midlands, while the North posted the second-sharpest rise.  




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