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Canadian Staffing Index Links Temp Staffing to GDP Performance

There’s no shortage of indicators available for folks anxious for a reliable handle on the fragile Canadian economy, but the Canadian Staffing Index, just released by the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services, provides unique insight.

ImageThis accounting of the number of leading staffing firms’ billed hours throws wide the view into the demand for temporary staffing in this country. And that’s an important metric, say the experts, given its track record of providing an early-warning signal about a country’s economic developments and its strong correlation with GDP growth.

Historically, temporary employment gets a boost as overtime hours increase and unemployment claims decline. This means the index can deliver a “near real-time” indication of how the Canadian economy is performing.

The most recent result — reflecting temporary staffing demand for July 2013 — is 115, up 5% from the same month a year before, when it clocked in at 110 (the index value of 100 corresponds with the size of the industry in July 2008, when the index began). It also exemplifies the same gain over June 2013.

This, says Timothy Landhuis, a research analyst at Mountain View, CA-based contingent work global advisor Staffing Industry Analysts, “represents modest or flat expansion in demand given that there was one additional working day this July compared to a year ago.

“So far in the first half of 2013, the index suggests that growth in overall demand year-over-year is either taking a pause or growing at best modestly.”

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