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Even post-recession, demand for temporary employees in the U.S. remains high

The report states that upwards of 2% of the entire U.S. workforce in the U.S. is “on the payroll of a staffing company,” and cites data from MBO Partners that says total independent workers in the U.S. reached 17.7 million in 2013, up 10% from 2011. An additional 6.3 million are expected to join those ranks by 2018.

These conditions are largely attributed to unique recovery patterns following the financial crisis. Unlike previous recessions, during which employers hired temporary workers to bridge gaps created by layoffs and transitioned back to hiring full-time workers during recovery, employers during the Great Recession picked up temporary employees, but have yet to revert to hiring similar numbers of full-time employees.

Referencing a study by job search site CareerBuilder, the report states that, “’42% of employers play to hire temporary or contract workers’” this year—an increase from 40 percent in 2013. And, the staffing industry is expected to grow by 6% in 2014 and 7% in 2015.”

And many job seekers, in the meantime, may have changed their priorities. While younger workers are choosing temporary employment because of the flexibility, many older workers are taking on temp assignments while postponing retirement. Still more may have abandoned the hunt completely after not finding full-time employment.

Express Employment Professionals CEO Robert A. Funk says reeducating this population about available opportunities may be the most important to getting people back to work.

“There’s opportunities out there that aren’t being fulfilled,” said Funk. “We certainly have a skills gap, there’s no question about that. Some of it goes to the education system, some of it goes to some people have decided not to keep looking.”

And professionals across industries seem to feel that companies s will continue looking to bring on more temporary employees. The report cites a survey conducted “on behalf of the staffing industry” that states “56% of businesses believe there will be a higher demand for temporary workers.

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