Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Temps' Sought on Short Notice TEMPORARY-HELP INDUSTRY

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Temps' Sought on Short Notice TEMPORARY-HELP INDUSTRY

Article excerpt

JUST-IN-TIME delivery is moving off the factory floor and into the office, as more companies demand temporary help on short notice.

Even though companies are using fewer temporary workers during the recession, there have been an increasing number of rush orders in the past few months, says Karen Hardcastle, Boston's branch manager for Tad Temporaries, a nationwide temporary-help service firm.

In the past, customers usually gave a day or two for her office to find temporary workers for the company. These days, she says, it is common for customers to call at 8 o'clock in the morning and want a worker by 9.

Thomas Routhier, owner of Routhier, a small temporary-employment service firm in Boston, has also seen an increase in rush orders in the past few months. He cannot always find workers in such a short time.

Though not all "temp services" cite such a trend, the increase in rush orders is not limited to the Northeast, where the recession has hit hardest.

Remedy/Temp, with 80 branches concentrated in California and Arizona, has seen these "ASAP" requests for help increase 48 percent in May from April, says Paul Mikos, the company's president.

The reason, Mr. Mikos explains, is that many firms have cut back staff to the bone, and are waiting until the very last minute to figure out the workload for that particular day and then calling "temp" services for help.

David Leibowitz, vice president of American Securities and an analyst of the temporary-help industry, concurs with Mikos, noting that rush orders are prevalent among companies that have cut their payrolls drastically.

However, Jane Riesterer, spokeswoman for Kelly Services, the nation's largest temporary-employment service, does not note a surge in short-notice orders. She says these have been a regular part of the business for years.

There are about 3,500 temporary-help services in the United States, providing more than 1 million workers a day to clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune-500 companies. By using temporary workers, businesses keep payroll costs down.

Between 1980 and 1989, the temporary-help industry grew at an average rate of 9.3 percent a year, almost five times faster than permanent employment, according to the National Association of Temporary Services. …

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