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BLS: Staffing Employment Remains Steady in May

May Staffing Jobs Up 9% From a Year Ago

Data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show seasonally adjusted staffing industry employment remained relatively unchanged in May, with temporary help payrolls down 1,200 (-0.1%) from April. In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment is 9.1% higher than May of last year.

“Recoveries are often bumpy and May’s slowdown in hiring is not surprising given that overall economic growth slowed earlier in the year,” says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Even with ongoing uncertainty about the economic recovery, staffing and recruiting firms continue to report demand for workers across most sectors and are even experiencing shortages in certain high skill occupations, such as information technology.”

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that staffing firms added 48,000 jobs, up 2.2% in May over April. On a year-to-year basis, there were 9.0% more staffing employees in May compared with the same month in 2010. The ASA Staffing Index, which also is not seasonally adjusted and therefore is comparable to the nonadjusted employment figures reported by BLS, indicated a 2.0% increase in staffing payrolls from April to May; the index showed a 6.0% increase in staffing employment in May over the same month last year.

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 is the voice of the U.S. staffing industry. ASA and its affiliated chapters advance the interests of staffing and recruiting firms of all sizes and across all sectors through legal and legislative advocacy, public relations, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. ASA members provide the full range of employment and work force services and solutions, including temporary and contract staffing, recruiting and permanent placement, outplacement and outsourcing, training, and human resource consulting.

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