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BLS: Staffing Employment Holds Steady in May

Staffing Up 8.5% From a Year Ago

Seasonally adjusted jobs data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that staffing employment remained relatively unchanged, up 0.4% from April to May (9,200 jobs). In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment for the month was 8.5% higher than in May 2011.

Overall U.S. nonfarm employment showed little growth, increasing by 69,000 jobs from April to May. During the first three months of 2012, the average rate of monthly job creation was 226,000; by contrast, the monthly average for April and May was 73,000.

“A disappointingly dreary start to the summer jobs season, but not a surprise because overall employment lags economic trends, and gross domestic product for the first quarter has been adjusted downward,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “The nonseasonally adjusted numbers for temporary help employment, which provides a real-time snapshot of what’s going on in the economy, suggests continued—albeit agonizingly slow—improvement.”

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that the staffing industry added 73,000 jobs (up 3.0%) from April to May. On a year-to-year basis, there were 8.4% more staffing employees in May 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 April was up 2.3% from March, totaling 283,300 for the month. In a year-to-year comparison, April employment was up 7.1% 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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