A temporary setback in jobs

| Print |  Email
Archives - September 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009

The unemployed aren’t the only ones scrambling for work these days; staffing agencies are also feeling the pain of high unemployment. Whenever there’s a recession the employment services industry is hit first as companies shave off their temporary help.

“Temp employees are the first to go when a company is cutting costs,” says Molly Kalomiris, general manager of Portland-based Northwest Staffing Resources.

According to the Oregon Employment Department, between June 2007 and June 2009 the number of jobs in the employment services industry in Oregon dropped 35%, decreasing slightly more than the national average.

Fewer temp jobs also means a drop in revenue for staffing agencies. Barrett Business Service’s net revenue is down 22.8% in the first quarter this year. Portland-based Employers Overload has seen a 40% drop in traditional business, and relies on the nontraditional role of managing crews on site to stay in business. Those few staffing firms that have tapped into a niche are still growing, such as Lake Oswego-based United Human Capital Solutions, which focuses on health care staffing, and California-based Mainz Brady Group, which specializes in information technology staffing in Portland.

Agencies stay in business because the recession also creates a need for temporary workers, though permanent placements and temp-to-hire positions remain down. After laying off permanent employees, companies turn to staffing agencies to fill in the gaps. Companies are also referring laid-off employees to staffing agencies and when business improves, hiring them through that agency as temporary employees.

Even though there are fewer jobs available, the unemployed continue to turn to staffing agencies to find work. Agencies have seen an increase in applicants, as high as 30% to 40% at Northwest Staffing Resources.

As competition increases, under-qualified applicants apply for any job they can find and over-qualified applicants take lower-level jobs just to get back to work. “People are working at lower salaries than they used to make and they’re so much more qualified,” says Pete Szambelan, Employers Overload CEO. “I’ll tell you, those people are worth their weight in gold.”

With competition for temporary positions fierce, the unemployed continue to encounter challenges as they search for Oregon’s latest endangered species: a job.

JENNY FURNISS
 

More Articles

Will Medford Ever Be Cool?

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.


Read more...

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumb

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS