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Unemployment trends at temp agencies: ‘We’re not seeing as many applicants’

DES MOINES, Iowa – As Iowa returns to ‘normal’ as the pandemic wanes, it’s clear that several industries need workers. Temp agencies currently have hundreds of openings, but not enough people applying.

“We’re not seeing as many applicants,” Clint Martin, franchise owner at Remedy Intelligent Staffing, said. “I don’t think everybody’s come back to the workforce yet. I think there’s still some hesitancy, and the pay rate if it’s not competitive then they’re not going to come back as fast. A lot of people are still making more money staying at home than what they could make going into work.”

The pandemic has caused some up and down trends. Martin says companies went from scaling back and cutting their workforce to playing catch up and needing more people than before. The most challenging part for temp agencies right now is getting employees in the industries that they see need the most help: manufacturing, light industrial and skilled trades.

Recruiters say it is currently an “employees market.” With so many jobs to choose from, workers can have more say when it comes to benefits, schedule, and pay. 

“Candidates definitely take their time. The people that are applying take their time on accepting a job, where before they would jump on the job right away,” Anna Tursi, account manager for Iowa Staffing, said. “They would just know the name of the company, maybe do just one interview and accept it. Where now it’s a little bit more of a, ‘let me think about it, let me call this other company that I had an offer.’ It’s definitely a slower process.”

Most employers are getting competitive with wages so they can fill positions. One statistic shows the national average pay rate right now is about $16.50.

Starting June 12, Iowa will end its participation in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs. Temp agencies say that will hopefully get people back in the workforce.

In the meantime, temp agencies are getting creative. Remedy Intelligent Staffing is hosting Job Fest, a drive-through job fair on Wednesday, July 9. It will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the parking lot located at 1776 22nd Street in West Des Moines.

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