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Temporary/contract staffing seems to be a hot topic on the Internet lately, and not just on Web sites that cater to recruiters or staffing agencies.

Many mainstream sources are reporting on a trend we have been tracking for months: that contract staffing seems to be leading the way in post-recession hiring. However, the optimism that an overall job recovery would soon follow is slowly fading away.

Here are some highlights from the recent Internet buzz on contract staffing:

The latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that professional and business services added 28,000 jobs in September, a gain the BLS attributes mostly to “temporary help services.” Meanwhile, 95,000 non-farm jobs were lost overall, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.6%.

The Wall Street Journal, citing Department of Labor (DOL) data, reported that temporary-help payrolls increased in 11 of the past 12 months and that it added 16,900 jobs in September.

A recent article also provided DOL data, showing that hiring in the temporary services industry is up 22.1 percent over last year while the overall job market has only improved by 0.2%.

The American Staffing Association provided similar statistics in a Human Resources Executive Online article, showing that the number of temporary and contract workers employed in the second quarter of 2010 was 23 percent higher than those employed in the same quarter of 2009. The article also cited a research report by the Economist Intelligence Unit in which 6 out of 10 respondents stated the proportion of contract workers at their organizations would increase. Only 12 % of the respondents planned to hire more permanent workers.

These statistics lend credence to the theory presented in another article that permanent jobs will be the minority in the future, as FoxHire blogged about in July. But while the eventual demise of permanent jobs is debatable, one thing is certain: contracting is where it’s at right now, and offering contract staffing services to your clients can at the very least provide you with a steady cash flow while you wait for the direct-hire job orders to come back. And if they never do come back to their pre-recession levels, you will have built a successful contract staffing model that can sustain you for years to come!

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