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Europe – Indications of improvement in agency work

27 November 2013

The slight improvement in the number of hours worked by agency workers in September 2013 has continued in October, with the market decline slowing in all countries, according to the Agency Work Business Indicator from Eurociett.

Poland leads the way with impressive positive figures, while Italy and Switzerland also show positive growth. The decline has fully halted in the Netherlands, bringing the European average for Q3 to a modest decline of -0.5%, compared with -5.1% in Q2 2013.

Industry turnover has followed the same trend as hours worked, but with slightly better figures. With the exception of France, all of the other countries reported turnover growth. Sweden was not included in this data set as it had not yet released figures for the third quarter.

In Belgium during October 2013, the number of hours worked by temporary agency workers was +1.2% higher than a month earlier. In comparison with October 2012, the activity in the temporary agency work industry slightly declined by ‐0.4% (compared with ‐4% in September 2013) resulting from a rise in the blue collar segment (hours worked: +2%) and a fall in the white collar segment (‐3.8%).   

In France during September 2013, turnover decreased by ‐5%, and the number of hours worked dropped by ‐5.5%, year on year. The number of temporary workers at work reduced by -2.3% in October compared with October 2012.

In the Netherlands the number of hours worked by temporary workers remained unchanged between 7 October and 3 November (Period 11). Industry turnover during the period increased by +2% compared with last year. Period 11 had the same number of working days as the corresponding period last year.

In Sweden turnover in the second quarter of 2013 fell by -4% compared with the same quarter last year, which is a lower rate of decrease than in the first quarter. This represents a slowing of the downturn that started in Q3 2012. The largest change was within permanent recruitment, which fell by -22% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year. The decrease within temporary staffing was -5%, which is also a weakening trend compared with the decrease in the first quarter.

In the UK temporary agency and contract staff billings increased for a sixth consecutive month in October. Although easing to the slowest rate since June, growth remained strong. The Midlands continued to post the strongest temporary jobs growth during the latest survey period, while the South registered the weakest rise. 

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