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Staffing agency sees sharp uptick in temporary hires

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New Jersey staffing agency The Work Group is reporting increased demand from companies searching to fill positions with temporary hires, a sign of growth in an otherwise uneven job market.

The Work Group said in a news release that job orders for administrative, sales and marketing, customer service, and collection roles are rising.

The company, which is based in Shrewsbury and has additional offices in Spotswood and Lakewood, said demand for those positions is up 26 percent year-to-date, compared with this time in 2012. The Work Group said the trend is consistent with nationwide gains for those positions reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“When there is an increase in job orders for key positions like these, it points to business growth in our region,” Diane Mazza and Koleen Singerline, principals of TWG, said in a joint statement. “Every company needs to be equipped with these important roles and a demand for them signifies business expansion.”

“We are gearing up for one of our busiest years in the industry,” Mazza added.

Job market recovery has sputtered since the recession formally ended, generating occasional increases but lacking robust momentum.

Joseph Seneca, professor of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, said an increase in temporary hires is an encouraging trend. He noted such progress also was evident in last week’s New Jersey jobs report.

The Labor Department reported 15,400 net new jobs, while the jobless rate fell to 8.6 percent — still well above historic levels. Professional and business services, a category that includes temporary staffing firms, reported an increase of 5,500 jobs.

“It’s typically an interim step to more hiring,” Seneca said. “It shows companies are reporting stronger top-line growth.”

But ideally, Seneca added, companies would be more confident in making permanent hires. He attributed the hesitancy to continued economic uncertainty, particularly the implementation of health care reform.

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