CWS 3.0: May 9, 2012

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Temp Use Rises; Recruiting Tougher for Manufacturers

Contingent workers accounted for a greater percentage of the U.S. workforce in April, and human resources professionals in the manufacturing sector found recruiting more difficult, according to two separate reports.

Contingent workers as a percentage of the total nonfarm U.S. workforce rose to 1.88 percent in April, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. March’s temp penetration rate was 1.86 percent.

Overall, the U.S. added fewer jobs than expected in April, but the number of temporary help jobs rose by 21,100 to 2.49 million.

Meanwhile, a separate report by the Society for Human Resource Management found that HR professionals believed recruiting in the manufacturing sector was tougher last month than a year ago.

SHRM’s “leading indicators of national employment” report found that 17.6 percent of HR professionals in manufacturing said recruiting was getting tougher in April compared to 1.5 percent who said it was easier. The net increase of 16.1 percent (the percent of those saying it was more difficult minus the percent saying it was easier) compares to a net increase of 14.5 percent in April 2011.

However, HR professionals in the service sector said recruiting was easier in April than a year ago. The net increase in recruiting difficulty was a negative 1.7 percent in April compared to a positive 1.1 percent in the same month a year ago.

The SHRM report also found new-hire compensation was relatively flat year over year in April at both manufacturing and service-sector firms.

SHRM’s report looked at the workforce in general and not specifically at contingent labor. The report’s survey included responses from human resources professionals at more than 500 manufacturing firms and more than 500 service-sector firms.

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