Agencies reap tidy profits as temp numbers soar

A record-high 3.21 million people worked at least one temporary job in fiscal 2006, an increase of 26.1 percent–another record high–from the previous fiscal year, according to a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry report.

The annual turnover of temporary agencies was about 5.42 trillion yen–an increase of 34.3 percent from fiscal 2005, the report said.

However, the 30 percent to 40 percent margins being creamed off by these agencies has come under attack from temporary worker labor unions and other groups. Under the Temporary Staffing Services Law, owners of temporary staffing agencies must report once a year to the ministry on matters such as the number of temps they dispatch and the dispatch fees they receive. A total of 41,966 businesses made such reports to the ministry in fiscal 2006.