If the staffing industry is any indication, things may be looking up for the economy.

Karen Dwyer

Karen Dwyer

Nationally, staffing firm Express Employment Professionals has seen an increase in job openings despite the rising unemployment rate.

Although unemployment in the area is 8.9 percent, local job seekers who are in search of temporary and part-time work will be among the first to benefit from an upswing in hiring.

The employment picture is still highly competitive. There are many more job applications than there are job openings. That’s not exclusive to this market. Nationally, the ratio of job applicants to job openings is high because of the large number of unemployed workers.

But there’s a bright side for job seekers. Highly skilled workers continue to be in demand, and with the economic recovery under way, 2010 will bring with it a recruiting mind-set from many employers who want to add talented, valuable members to their teams as they begin to rebuild their businesses.

In fact, according to research released over the summer by the American Staffing Association, after a recession, the job market turns first to temporary staffing to fill the demand for workers without taking on the long-term expense of full-time employees. If history is any indicator, the current increase in local temporary staffing signals that within three to six months, companies will begin adding workers to the full-time payroll.

In this market, employers are already beginning to bring back temporary or part-time workers in hopes that they can begin to rebuild their work force as the economy improves.

The optimism and energy a new year brings, added with these trends in local temporary hiring at the end of 2009, are good news indeed. Time will tell, but taken together, these trends indicate that the worst of this recession is likely over.

— Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 9 W. Figueroa St. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.