Archive for Friday, April 6, 2001

Employment agencies suffer temporary slowdown

April 6, 2001

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Disney shut down its catalog service center, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. closed its direct-mail plant and Oread Inc. shut down its pharmaceutical operations.

All three Lawrence-area closures during the past year helped send many displaced employees to temporary-employment services for work and frustrate an increasingly large number of job-seekers.

The temp agencies are suffering through the slowdown, too.

"There's not a lot of job opportunities coming in the door everyday, like we're used to seeing," said Shirley Martin-Smith, owner of an Adecco franchises in Lawrence. "A year ago you could walk into a temp service and get a job that second. That's still going to happen in isolated circumstances, but the market is soft."

Compared with a year ago, Martin-Smith said, Adecco has about 10 percent more job seekers vying for 20 percent fewer jobs. Places like Lawrence Paper Co., which in recent years has lined up dozens of temporary workers to help fill booming orders for corrugated-paper boxes and other products, now are cutting production and keeping a close eye on personnel costs.

Nancy Slabaugh, district manager for Manpower Temporary Services in Lawrence, Ottawa and Emporia, said her Lawrence office also had fewer jobs. Among the reasons: Donnelley's decision last year to shut down its Communicolor division in Eudora.

"Most of the companies we work with are still calling and requesting employees, but this has been a slower time of year for us," she said.

Cheryl White, of the Lawrence Workforce Center, said she has seen a steady stream of clients at the center, 833 Ohio. Many are people she considers "underemployed," who are seeking more work with higher wages.

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