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Contingent workforce employment dropped 8.5% in February, according to data from integrated workforce management platform Magnit. The company says this is due to lower hiring rates at the end of 2023, followed by a slower rebound in the first few months of 2024.

For its analysis, Magnit looks at hiring volume, layoffs, and voluntary terminations across six industries. The 8.5% drop in hiring volume was driven by consumer products and services (39.7%), technology (-14.1%), and healthcare (-13.3%). Hiring volume grew in the other three industries: financial services (+32%), manufacturing (+23.6%), and life sciences (+15.5%).

The data also showed that women account for a majority of job growth: 61% of fills in 2023 and 67% so far this year.

“We’re seeing a surge of women impacting new hires in the labor market,” Dustin Burgess, Senior Vice President of Strategic Advisory at Magnit, said in a press release. “The uptick we’ve witnessed in the past couple years may be attributed to women reentering the workforce after assuming primary caregiver roles during the pandemic. In the current tight labor market, employers that embrace flexibility and benefits catered to all genders are poised to leverage this trend for sustained growth.”