A sign of hope for Monday morning

One of the first positive signs of a recovering job market will be an increase in temporary hiring. Before employers commit to building their own workforces, they'll hedge their bets by bringing on temps. This is particularly true now as more and more companies try to avoid employees all together by using as large a contingent workforce as possible.

That's why this most recent report from American Staffing Association is good news. It charts an increase in temporary hiring every week starting July 6. Here's the caveat: Temporary employment always rises at this time of year, the association says. But this year's rise is more robust.

Last year, in 2008, temporary staffing increased for four consecutive weeks. Now it's been up for six consecutive weeks and the association's index, which puts together a bunch of factors, is up four points. Last year, it was up two points. The Association says that temporary staffing is a three-month leading indicator of nonfarm employment. Let's hope that's the case. We'd be happy to take increased employment as the perfect holiday present.