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Staffing firms in Belgium have been affected by a slowdown in temporary staffing this year with the latest research showing that demand for workers is still not as strong as a year ago.
Data from the Belgian federation of staffing agencies (Federgon) also indicates that temporary staff worked fewer hours in October when compared to levels seen in 2011.
In the month, the number of hours put in by temporary workers fell by -9.5% year-on-year. Blue collar workers in particular have been hit by the downturn, seeing a -11.6% fall in activity levels. For white collar workers this deterioration was not as steep with a decline of -5.3%.
For the whole of the year 2012, Federgon expects the Belgian temporary agency work market to contract by 8%-9%.
Month-on-month, the number of hours worked declined by -2.4%; all job categories declined in a similar manner: blue collar workers (-2.7%) and white collar workers (-2.0%).
All figures are seasonally adjusted and the Federgon index reached 206.3 points in October 2012, down from 211.2 points in September. The index has been declining steadily since June 2011; this is the lowest level since March 2010. The Index was set at a base of 100 in January 1995 and shows the level of activity in the temporary staffing industry in Belgium.
The impact of the closure of car manufacturer, Ford Genk, on the Belgian staffing market is much smaller than expected, according to Federgon. “Between 2005-2006, there were over 400 temporary workers at Ford Genk, and also many at parts manufacturing sites. But the peak periods are long gone", says Paul Verschueren, Research Director at Federgon. “In 2011, the number of temporary employees (full time equivalents) who worked in and around Ford Genk dropped to 260. We assume that at the time of the announcement of the closure,not more than 100 to 120 were, "adds Verschueren.