About 20,000 people looking for jobs signed on to oDesk Corp.'s online staffing marketplace in November, the largest monthly increase -- by at least 40 percent -- that CEO Gary Swart has seen since joining the firm in 2005. Swart said he expects another 15,000 people to sign up this month.
About 4,600 contract jobs are listed on the oDesk site, about twice the number available a year ago. The growth in available jobs is a sign that contract work, like outsourcing, is countercyclical -- it tends to expand when the economy is troubled.
"Companies are trying to do more with less," Swart said.
In all, some 157,000 people are currently seeking work on the site.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses reported earlier this month that overall IT employment in the United States declined by almost 34,000 jobs between October and November. U.S. IT employment for the month stood at about 3.87 million.
Robert Scheier, a managing director for sourcing advisory services at PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd., said that the use of contractors is growing as companies look to cut IT costs.
Workers listed on the oDesk site are located around the world, and the hourly rates offered reflect the economic differences among countries -- averaging $12.52 in India, $6.33 in the Philippines, $16.86 in Russia, and $18.32 in the United States.
Computerworld is an InfoWorld affiliate.