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Demand for temp workers starting to boost pay

Published April 10, 2006

Wondering when wages might start rising under pressure from low unemployment?

Jeremy Dixon, general manager of A-1 Temps, a temporary staffing company with 10 offices in the Tampa Bay area, said it's happening.

Dixon, who has been in the staffing business for 15 years, said he has seen employers start to raise wage offers in the past month. Pay for entry-level, assembly positions in manufacturing plants, for example, has jumped to $8.50 from $7 an hour.

"If companies want employees, they have to pay for them," Dixon said. "The dollar is the thing that's talking right now."

After watching temp hiring creep up gradually over the past year, Dixon said demand for workers started skyrocketing in March.

"In the last three weeks, demand is up 35 percent, and that's all across the board," said Dixon, whose agency handles staffing for clerical and light-industrial positions.

A-1 Temps has responded by tripling its advertising budget, trying to recruit candidates for the rush of job slots. But it's not easy.

"People have just gotten their tax returns back or they're waiting for their kids to get out of school. They're not necessarily in the job mode," Dixon said. "I see a lot of demand, but not much supply out there."

[Last modified April 10, 2006, 01:54:16]

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