Pop the cork, if only for a moment

In a jittery year, the staffing industry has helped companies handle the vicissitudes of a moody economy. So it was no surprise to me that the mood at the American Staffing Association’s recent annual Staffing World conference in New Orleans was upbeat.

I felt that business is doing well despite — or should I say because of — the economic swings. But it was more than just an increase in revenue. As I wandered around the conference, I felt that the atmosphere among the 1,450 attendees was charged. Let’s not forget that U.S. staffing firms have created more new jobs than any other industry since the Great Recession ended June 2009.

On the legal front, an Oregon state bill that would have negatively impacted the industry is now, basically, dead. However, Massachusetts is pondering a bill that would hit the staffing business hard in that state, but Ed Lenz, an ASA senior vice president, legal and public affairs, said that the ASA has made a compromise proposal to limit the bill’s scope.

The ASA also reported it spoke before a House subcommittee regarding industry concerns on healthcare reform. “It was a very friendly committee,” Lenz said. “It’s not a legislative writing committee, but it’s a committee that people listen to.” The presentation was made Oct. 6 to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and the National Archives. For a video of the hearing, click here.

Good news also came from overseas last week. In a separate move, a global report published jointly by Ciett (the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies) and The Boston Consulting Group highlighted the positive impact of the staffing industry worldwide. The report outlined how private employment agencies start to create jobs even at low levels of GDP growth and help jump start economies. In addition, agencies help eliminate illegal and undeclared work.

So we have had some good news lately.  If the economy holds up, that should keep coming.

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