Temporary workers boost employment stats

2010-09-14 10:26

An increased use of temporary and contract workers to mitigate the effects of the public sector strike in August resulted in the first increase in employment in five months.

This is according to the latest Adcorp Employment Index released today.

Adcorp CEO Richard Pike said the increase in employment during August was primarily connected with the use of more than 90 000 additional temporary and contractor workers during the countrywide public service strike.

“Most of these workers (62.5%) were employed through temporary employment agencies rather than directly.”

The index increased at an annual rate of 6.8% in August as a result.

However permanent employment fell at an annual rate of 2.4% during August, the 18th consecutive monthly decline.

“It remains a real concern that the economy is still shedding jobs. Both business and government need to find ways to address this continual fall in employment especially in the manufacturing sector.”

Employment increased in government (+44.2%), mining (+7.9%) and financial services (+7.4%) sectors and fell in all other sectors.

Reflecting continued weakness in the manufacturing sector, employment of artisans fell 6.4% and machine operators fell 6.7%.

Pike said September’s index, to be released next month, was particularly important to watch, since it was a leading indicator of the likely strength of the year-end holiday season, as employers began to increase temporary staffing requirements.

“Based on relatively weak consumer and, especially, corporate activity in the economy at present, it is unlikely that the seasonal year-end peak will be as marked as it has been in previous years.”

This represented a worrying sign for school leavers, for many of whom temporary assignments during December and January were their first opportunity to join the workforce, Pike said.

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