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Behind the News: Define Your CW Strategy Now - CWS 30 January 2.1

Contingent Workforce Strategies 30





When will the economy rebound? According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, it already has. The United States had a 2.8 percent GDP growth in the third quarter of 2009, according to the Bureau. Further, the United States added 52,000 temp jobs in November, the fourth month in a row of temp job gains. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the increase in temp jobs is a trend that continues from August. Overall, the United States added 116,900 temporary jobs since August.

Temporary employment is seen by many as one of the leading indicators of economic expansion. Contingents or temps are usually the first to be hired after a recession, especially in the industrial segment. Managers usually are more comfortable dipping their toes into a contingent pool rather than increasing their headcount at the early stages of economic recoveries.

So watch out. As a contingent workforce manager, you might have had your pick of quality candidates. That is likely to change if the trend holds. Already in some manufacturing segments, workers clocked more overtime in November than any time prior in 2009. Take the motor vehicle power train component industry. Workers put in 9.4 hours a week over their regular 40-hour week, according to Staffing Industry Analysts, the publisher of this newsletter. Frozen fruits and vegetables industry workers put in 7.3 hours of overtime.

Economic activity is up and more employee hours are needed to meet the increased demand -- hence an increase in overtime. Employers have a choice of recruiting contingents to meet the amplified workload or paying their employees for overtime. But in the long run, overtime can work out to be more expensive than using contingents and can lead to employees burning out. Further, there are those capable workers who don't want to work overtime. So why put the pressure on?

If you haven't already done so, this is a good time to define your contingent worker strategy. Formalize your program and build your CW brand. It will hold you in good stead.

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