Up 2.9% From a Year Ago, but Pace Slowed Again
Temporary help employment increased 2.9% from January 2015 to January 2016, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. From December to January, “Employment in temporary help services edged lower,” said BLS commissioner Erica L. Groshen, “after edging up by the same amount in December.”
December is often the peak month of staffing employment, and January the trough month. Temporary help jobs in January were down 0.9% from December, even when seasonally adjusted, though. But the nominal decline may disappear in revisions over the coming months. Over the past 12 months, year-to-year staffing job growth averaged 4.0%.
Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment decreased 8.4% from December 2015 to January 2016. But there were 3.2% more staffing employees in January than in the same month last year.
“Mirroring the economy at large, staffing firms are reporting mixed demand across major industry sectors,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “However, services sectors growth continues—particularly in occupations that require higher skills and education.”
Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 151,000 jobs in January (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for November and December, the data showed that monthly job gains averaged 231,000 per month over the past three months, marginally more than the average of 228,000 for the prior 12 months.
The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.9% after holding at 5.0% for three consecutive months.
BLS also released preliminary December 2015 employment data for search and placement services, which increased 2.3% from November, seasonally adjusted. Search and placement jobs totaled 315,800 in December, 6.4% higher than in the same month last year.
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