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BLS: Staffing Employment Leads Job Growth in February

February Staffing Up 9.5% From a Year Ago

Seasonally adjusted employment data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that staffing industry employment grew 1.9% from January to February. In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment for the month was 9.5% higher than in February 2011.

U.S. nonfarm payroll employment added 227,000 jobs in February, largely driven by increases in the private sector. Job growth was concentrated in professional and business services (82,000), with more than half of this increase coming from temporary help services (45,000); health care and social assistance (61,000); leisure and hospitality (44,000); manufacturing (31,000); and mining (7,000). Government employment showed little change over the month, falling slightly (-6,000 jobs). The overall unemployment rate held steady at 8.3% from January to February.

“Demand for temporary and contract workers was up significantly in February, an indicator that the economy is continuing to recover,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “However, businesses continue to be very strategic about who to hire and when. With close to 13 million unemployed, candidates need strong multi-faceted job search strategies to help them stand out from the competition.”

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that the staffing industry grew 2.4% from January to February. On a year-to-year basis, there were 8.7% more staffing employees in February compared with the same month in 2011

BLS also provides employment estimates for search and placement firms, but those are nonseasonal only, and reports lag one month. BLS reported that search and placement employment in January was down 5.0% from December, totaling 265,700 for the month. In a year-to-year comparison, January employment was up 7.3% from the same month in 2011.

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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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