CWS 3.0: April 24, 2013

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Indexes Point to Rising CW Costs

Staffing buyers may find themselves having to pay more, according to new index readings on the cost of contingent labor.

The IQNdex, a measure of temporary labor bill rates in the U.S. by vendor management system provider IQNavigator, rose to a reading of 107.3 in March from 106.7 in December, showing that bill rates were headed up. The increase comes amid robust use of temporary labor even as overall job creation in the U.S. remains lackluster, according to IQNavigator.

However, not all job sectors posted increases in bill rates. “Professional-managerial” bill rates declined modestly in the first quarter, according to the IQNdex. The decline in this category began back in October, and jobs with decreasing bill rates included marketing assistant and non-IT business analyst. Not all jobs in this sector recorded decreases in bill rates. Job descriptions with rising bill rates included financial operations clerk and recruiting assistants.

The other three sectors tracked by the IQNdex all posted rising bill rates. They include “technical-IT,” “light industrial” and “office-clerical.”

Temporary labor bill rates rose the fastest in the Northeast portion of the U.S., according to the IQNdex.

Another measure of the cost of contingent labor also rose in its latest reading. Year-over-year growth in the U.S. producer price index for employment services ticked up 0.9 percent in March after holding steady or falling since December, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that was not seasonally adjusted.

Producer price indexes track the change in price received by service producers over time. The change in price is measured from the perspective of the seller, in this case staffing firms.

The employment services industry includes employment placement agencies, temporary help services, executive search services and professional employer organizations.

“These respective increases do not come as a surprise, as Staffing Industry Analysts’ data show that recruiting of quality talent is becoming a greater challenge for many of today’s staffing firms,” said Bryan Peña, vice president, contingent workforce strategies and research, at Staffing Industry Analysts. “This would automatically lead to wage a bill rate inflation, coupled that with the increasing statutory costs and anticipated increases that will come with a full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and it’s only natural that we start to see increases in bill rates.”

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