Job security is scarce for everybody today, but especially for temporary workers, who are often the first to get laid off. According to the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), employment for temporary workers was down 3.8% in the last month, and 12.8% in the last year. But there are certain jobs that are available for temp workers, and right now, there is work to be done in the financial sector of the economy.
Candice Winterringer, vice president of Prostaff, a national temporary worker agency which has an office in Minnesota, said in a telephone interview that businesses that are involved in refinancing are suddenly very busy. She said the work is on a temporary basis because the financial companies don’t know how long the need for temp workers in these areas is going to last.
Angie Dziedzic, client service manager for NexPro, another temp firm, said that her company as well is sending more workers out for financial positions than for other types of positions. Companies need help with closing assistance, and mortgage reviewers.
Lucas Gerstner, who started temping in June, is on his third temp job at Wells Fargo bank. Currently, he works in home mortgage, processing applications for home refinancing. Gerstner said that the three-step program he works in began in 2001, but because the market is so bad right now, there has been an influx of people trying to refinance their mortgages. He said he’s working with more than 200 temporary workers in his office. His job is to process applications to get them to the approval stage.
Trained as an actor at Macalester College, Gerstner knew that it was likely that he wouldn’t be working in theater right after college, but he said he never expected to be doing what he is doing now. “I didn’t know if the program if it was going to be a good fit,” Gerstner said, “There’s obviously better days than others. It’s never fun to tell people that they have been denied.”
Candice Winterringer said that while temp agencies typically are the first ones to feel it when the economy slows down (her agency saw a drop-off in employment early in 2008), they are also the first people to see when the economy starts to rekindle. “We’re starting to see a pickup again already,” Winterringer said. “We’re actually already optimistic on a micro level.”
Sheila Regan is a theater artist based in Minneapolis. When not performing or writing, she serves as educational coordinator for Teatro del Pueblo.