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BLS: Staffing Strong in Weak December Jobs Report

Temporary Help Up 9.6%

Seasonally adjusted employment data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that temporary help employment added 40,400 new jobs in December (up 1.5% from November). In a year-to-year comparison, staffing firms employed 9.6% more temporary workers in December than in the same month a year ago, according to BLS.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that the staffing industry added 17,500 jobs in December (up 0.6% from November). On a year-to-year basis, there were 9.0% more staffing employees in December than in the same month last year.

“We expect to see a continued increase in the strategic use of workforce solutions designed to help companies more effectively source and utilize talent in the year ahead,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “This is good news because it means more employment opportunities and options for U.S. workers.”

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment edge up by 74,000 jobs in December, BLS reported. Economists expected 200,000 or more. Monthly job gains averaged 182,000 in 2013. The unemployment rate declined from 7.0% to 6.7% in December.

Temporary help as a percentage of total nonfarm employment increased to 2.06%, appearing to set a new record over the 2.03% penetration rate peak in April 2000. However, BLS data will be revised several times in the coming months.

BLS also released preliminary November employment data for search and placement services: seasonally adjusted at 294,600, employment showed virtually no change from October.

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About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit

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