The second derivative has been the last refuge of the bulls in recent months; tracking it is an optimists' game, but it's also the only way to know when things are turning around and how fast.
Good news: For the last few months it has moved convincingly in the right direction a deceleration in the rate of temp job loss.
From the beginning of 2008 through November, temp job losses accelerated, increasing from about 20K to 30K in the beginning of the year to 80K to 90K toward the end. After peaking in the November-December-January period, they moderated in February, then a little bit more in March, and now again in April, during which month temp job losses were 'just' 60K.
Whether this is a head fake or the turnaround we have all been waiting for is yet to be seen, but the odds are starting to improve for the latter. If real, at the current rate of deceleration, the temp industry would start generating jobs again somewhere in about seven months.