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BLS: Staffing Industry Continued to Add Jobs in December

495,000 Staffing Jobs Added Since October 2009

The staffing industry was one of the few sectors that contributed to overall job growth in the U.S. economy during December, adding nearly 16,000 new jobs. On a month-to-month basis, seasonally adjusted staffing employment rose slightly (0.7%) in December but was 16.1% higher than December of 2009, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS noted its data show that the staffing industry has added 495,000 new jobs over the past 15 months since resuming growth in October 2009.

“The much needed jobs recovery remained largely elusive in 2010 as businesses cautiously and strategically added to their flexible and permanent work forces,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association. “Staffing firms continue to report that demand is steadily increasing across many sectors, an indicator that the economy is moving in the right direction. Many of the individuals working as temporary employees will be at the front of the line as businesses start ramping up the size of their permanent talent pools.”

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that staffing employment ticked down from November to December (-0.4%), considerably better than the historical sequential decrease of (-1.3%). On a year-to-year basis, there were 16.3% more workers employed in December compared with the same month in 2009. The ASA Staffing Index, which is also not seasonally adjusted and therefore is comparable to the nonadjusted employment figures reported by BLS, also indicated a 16% increase in staffing payrolls since December 2009.

The ASA Staffing Index is reported nine days after each workweek, making it a virtual real-time measure of staffing employment trends. ASA research shows that staffing employment is a coincident economic indicator and leading employment indicator, especially when the economy is emerging from a recession. Data for the index are gathered by ASA corporate partner Inavero, a market research firm based in Portland, OR.

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The American Staffing Association promotes legal, ethical, and professional practices for the $61 billion U.S. staffing industry. ASA members account for 85% of U.S. staffing industry sales and operate some 14,000 offices throughout the nation. Two million Americans go to work for U.S. staffing companies every business day.

Founded to promote flexible employment opportunities and ensure the quality of staffing services, ASA has been the voice of the U.S. staffing industry since 1966. Members provide a wide range of employment services and solutions, including temporary and contract staffing, recruiting and permanent placement, outplacement and outsourcing, training, and human resource consulting. ASA and its affiliated chapters promote the interests of the industry through legal and legislative advocacy, public relations, education, and the establishment of high standards of ethical conduct.

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