BLS: Staffing Industry Maintains Job Growth in July


Staffing Up 10.6% From a Year Ago

Seasonally adjusted employment data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the staffing industry added 14,100 jobs (up 0.6%) from June to July. In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment for the month was 10.6% higher than in July 2011.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that the staffing industry shed 43,600 jobs (down 1.7%) from June to July. On a year-to-year basis, there were 10.9% more staffing employees in July compared with the same month in 2011.

“Staffing firms report that their customers are being very strategic about the timing of adding new staff,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Until businesses see a sustained increase in demand for their products and services, the economy will continue to be stuck in neutral, adding just enough jobs to keep up with population growth but not enough to reduce unemployment.”

Overall U.S. nonfarm employment rose by 163,000 from June to July. Since January of this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, similar to the average monthly gain of 153,000 the economy experienced last year. In July, most of the employment growth was driven by new job creation in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.

Job growth in professional and business services was largely in temporary help services as well as computer systems design (7,000). Food services and drinking places added 29,000 jobs over the month; health care employment grew by 12,000 jobs; and manufacturing employment rose by 25,000 jobs. Employment declines were noted in utilities (-8,000).

The overall unemployment rate essentially unchanged from June to July, edging up slightly from 8.2% to 8.3%.

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 June was up 0.2% from May, totaling 286,300 jobs for the month. In a year-to-year comparison, June employment was up 5.6% 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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