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eurociett publishes Agency Work Business Indicator for April 2015

The good news in this AWBI seems to be that France is back into positive growth figures. For the second month, it reported positive growth in February. Growth is also accelerating in Finland, Italy and the Netherlands. Belgium is also showing slightly less growth, mainly due to a surge in the first few months of 2014, resulting in a weaker base for comparison. In Germany the data for 2014 was revised based on new information, resulting in a much more positive figure with positive growth for the entire year, and a y-o-y growth in February of 3.1%. All in all this leads to a European y-o-y growth of 4.6% in February.  


Turnover developments are now positive all across the board. New data from Sweden does show a decline in growth there, while Finland is in fact accelerating. Comparable to the hours worked developments, growth accelerates in Finland, the Netherlands and France, while Belgium is lacking slightly behind. Sweden is also slowing down in Q4 of 2014 with 2% y-o-y growth compared to 3% y-o-y in the previous quarter.


Unemployment figures throughout Europe are still worrisome, but do show a steady improvement. In February 2015, slightly less than 24 million Europeans were registered as unemployed, which is a 6.2% decrease compared to the same period the year before. Meanwhile, agency work is also steadily growing, continuing to show how it functions as a leading indicator for unemployment, able to more quickly respond to economic developments.

Eurostat GDP data up to Q22014 shows a steady growth, which is mirrored in the growth of agency work. Despite a slowdown end of 2014, the development of agency hours worked remains positive and in fact reached a peak in January 2015. 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 a coincidental economic indicator of GDP growth.



In February 2015, the number of hours worked by temporary agency workers was 0.06% higher than a month earlier (seasonally adjusted data. corrected for calendar effects). An increase was observed in the white collar segment by 0.18%, a decrease in the blue collar segment by - 0.02%. In comparison with February 2014 the activity in the temporary agency work industry grew by 11.78% (compared to 12.34% in January 2015) resulting from a rise in the blue collar segment (hours worked: 11.95%) and in the white collar segment (11.55%). 


In February, turnover of temporary work improved 2% (year over year, days adjusted). In the same time, hours worked grew by 1.5%. After an improvement in February (0.3%), number of temps at work has reduced by 1.5% in March. In this context, regions with a strong industry orientation have significantly developed : Nord pas de 

Calais (4.7%), Lorraine (4.5%), Haute Normandie (4%) and Bourgogne (3.8%). 


In period 3 (week 9 – 12) the total amount of hours increased 11% and also turnover grew 11%, 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 7% in hours and turnover grew 9% in comparison to the same period in 2014. 

• Hours in the industrial sector increased 10% and turnover increased 9% compared to the same period last year. 

• Furthermore, the amount of worked hours in the technical sector increased 24% and turnover increased 21%. 


The Norwegian agency work market is declining for the 8th consecutive quarter even though it is now showing signs of stabilizing. While construction work and manufacturing are growing, engineering and IT are dropping. As the main reason of the decline in 2013 was a price growth as a result of the establishing of an equal treatment principle for agency work in Norway, the decline in 2014 is due to a cooling Norwegian economy. Drop in oil prices affect the market for the Norwegian agency work industry. We also see signs that customers in certain areas are finding new ways to solve their need for flexibility than use of agency workers. 


Temp billings continue to rise strongly. Agencies’ billings from the employment of temporary/contract staff increased further in March. The rate of growth remained strong, despite easing slightly from February’s five-month high. Increased client workloads were reported to have underpinned the latest expansion of temp billings. Midlands-based agencies recorded the fastest increase in temp billings during the latest survey period.


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