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In the third quarter of 2013, sales in the staffing industry rose by +2.7% compared with the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Dutch Federation of Employment Agencies (ABU). This marks the first increase since the second quarter of 2012.
The growth was primarily attributed a rise in the number of hours worked by workers in Stage A (on contracts of up to 78 weeks) in the third quarter of +0.5% compared with the second quarter. The modest increase follows five quarters of decline. The recovery was further signalled by a rise in the ABU index to 98.8, although it remains below the 100 level set in 2010.
The seasonally adjusted number of hours worked by those is Stage B (up to two years) and Stage C (up to three and a half years) was +0.7% during Q3 2013 compared with Q2. The total number of hours worked during the third quarter rose by +0.4% compared with the previous quarter.
The recent positivity in the staffing market has resulted in a growing optimism for the fourth quarter, according to the ABU Marktmonitor.
Looking back on 2013, the number of hours worked during the first 12 periods of the year (ABU divides the year into thirteen periods of four weeks) fell by -3% compared with a year ago. Sales also reported a fall of -1%, year-on-year.
The industrial sector reported a fall of -3% in the number of hours worked in the first 12 periods of 2013. Sales for the sector remained relatively unchanged. During the period, the administration sector reported a -2% drop in the number of hours worked, but again sales remained relatively unchanged compared with last year. The technical sector also reported a fall in both hours worked and sales, -5% and -3%, respectively.
The largest year-on-year fall was in the medical sector, which reported an average decline of -26% in the number of hours worked and -23% in sales during the first 12 weeks of 2013 compared with the previous year.