During the recession, employers increasingly relied on the work of temporary employees in an attempt to streamline costs. In March of 2011, the US had 2.3 million temporary workers (without salaries or benefits) and 8.4 million who were working involuntarily part-time.
Now, as reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, temp staffing agencies are charging increasingly higher prices for temp paychecks. Between March of 2010 and March of 2011, one California-based staffing agency saw a 6.3 percent increase in wages. The company had not seen a 12-month increase like this since 2008.
Though wage increases may be limited to workers with specialized skills in short supply, it is also likely indicative of a future increase in permanent workers’ salaries. As wages for permanent jobs are reviewed less often, their growth usually lags behind those of temporary workers.
This increase in wages may not indicate that the economy is bouncing back (one Sanford C. Bernstein analyst said that there is “‘resounding evidence’ that salary gains are improving”) but the Federal Reserve is wary, “Wage increases continued to be strained by a large margin of slack in the labor market…in general, increases in wages have been subdued.”