BLS: Staffing Employment Little Changed in March

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Staffing Up 8.0% From a Year Ago

Seasonally adjusted employment data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that staffing industry employment dipped slightly, shedding 7,500 jobs (down 0.3%) from February to March. In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment for the month was 8.0% higher than in March 2011.

U.S. nonfarm payroll employment in March grew at about half the rate of that noted in February, adding 120,000 new jobs to the economy. Most of the employment growth continued to be driven by new job creation in the private sector.

“For the most part, staffing firms continued to see healthy demand in March, as was reflected by the nonseasonally adjusted BLS employment numbers,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “In the current environment, businesses are understandably cautious about when and how to add additional flexible and permanent staff.”

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that the staffing industry added 29,400 jobs (up 1.2%) from February to March. On a year-to-year basis, there were 8.5% more staffing employees in March 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. Friday, BLS reported that search and placement employment in February was up 2.5% from January, totaling 272,300 for the month. In a year-to-year comparison, February employment was up 7.5% 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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