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Europe – Agency work continues to show improvement

31 January 2014

In November 2013, the European market grew by +1.4%, according to the January edition of the Eurociett Agency Work Business Indicator. This is an improvement of the first cautious growth of +0.6% that was recorded in the previous month.

Since agency work is considered to be a leading economic indicator, this is also good news for the European economy and labour market. This growth coincides with a more positive outlook on GDP growth in Europe. The European labour market has not yet started to improve, but usually this will only happen several months after the agency work industry has started to grow.


In December 2013, the number of hours worked by temporary agency workers was +0.3% higher than a month earlier. A slight increase was observed as well in the blue collar segment by +0.5% as in the white collar segment by +0.02%. In comparison with December 2012, the activity in the temporary agency work industry grew by +0.4% (compared to +4.8% in November 2013) resulting from a rise in the blue collar segment (hours worked: +3.1%) and a fall in the white collar segment (‐2.9%). 


In November, revenue from temporary work increased by +2%. At the same time, number of hours worked rose by +1.5%. Following decreases of ‐2.3% in October and ‐2.4% in November, number of temporary workers in work decreased by ‐0.9% in December. During 2013, the number of temporary workers with jobs fell by ‐8.8%. In December, the number of temporary workers with jobs declined in 11 regions and risen in 10. 


In period 13 (week 49 – 52) the total amount of hours increased by +2% and turnover grew by +3%, in comparison to the same period last year. This period had an equal amount of workable days compared to the same period last year.


Turnover in the third quarter of 2013 increased by +0.7%, compared with the same quarter last year, to over SEK 5 billion (€). The biggest increase in sales was reported in Northern Sweden with +10%. There was also a +10% increase in revenue from outsourcing, +6% increase in revenue from the industrial sector, and a +14% increase in revenue from the health/medical care sector. 


Agencies’ billings from the employment of temporary/contract staff increased further in December. Having accelerated since November, the rate of expansion was the sharpest in over 15 years. Survey respondents commented that growth of temporary billings reflected a combination of greater demand from existing clients and the securing of new contracts. Mirroring the trend observed for permanent staff, the fastest growth of temporary billings in December was recorded in the Midlands, while the North posted the second‐sharpest rise. 


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