BLS: Staffing Jobs Hold Steady in December

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Staffing Employment Up 6.4% From a Year Ago

Seasonally adjusted employment data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that staffing employment showed no change from November to December. In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment for the month was 6.4% higher than in December 2011. Over the previous 12 months, the temporary help industry has added an average of 12,800 jobs per month to the economy.

“BLS estimates that staffing firms created more than 150,000 new jobs in 2012 as businesses continued to strategically embrace flexible work force solutions to increase productivity and competiveness,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Although temporary and contract employment represents just under 2% of total employment, staffing firms accounted for 8% of all of new jobs created in 2012.”

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that staffing industry employment declined by 33,500 from November to December (down 1.3%, versus an average 1.0% drop since 1990). On a year-to-year basis, there were 4.6% more staffing employees in December than in the same month in 2011.

Overall U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 155,000 jobs in December. In 2012, the economy has added an average of 153,000 new jobs per month—the same monthly average gain as in 2011.

Employment growth was mostly driven by new job creation in health care (45,000), food services and drinking places (38,000), construction (30,000), and manufacturing (25,000).

Employment in other major industries—including retail trade, mining and logging, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, professional and business services, and government—showed little change over the month.

The overall U.S. unemployment rate was relatively unchanged at 7.8%.

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 November was down 0.3% from October, totaling 295,500 jobs for the month. In a year-to-year comparison, November employment was up 5.3% from the same month in 2011.

For more information, visit the ASA newsroom.

Interviews with ASA executives are available.


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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