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BLS: Staffing Employment Flat in May

Up 0.6% From a Year Ago, Pace Slows Again

“Temporary help services employment was little changed in May” according to Erica L. Groshen, commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, commenting on the jobs report released today. Seasonally adjusted staffing employment was down 0.7% from April to May, but up 0.6% compared with May 2015. Year-to-year staffing job growth averaged 2.9% over the past 12 months.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment increased 1.2% from April to May. Year-to-year, there were 0.4% more staffing employees in May than in the same month last year.

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment was also little changed, rising by 38,000 jobs in May (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for March and April, the data showed that monthly job gains averaged 116,000 per month over the past three months, significantly less than the average of 219,000 for the prior 12 months.

The unemployment rate declined from 5.0% in April to 4.7% in May, largely due to people dropping out of the labor force.

“What does not jump out of today’s jobs report is the fact that American employers across many sectors are still facing significant hiring and skills gap challenges,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “At a time when the labor market participation rate has fallen to 62.6%, businesses report that they have close to six million open jobs they cannot fill.”

BLS also released preliminary April employment data for search and placement services, which increased 0.8% from March, seasonally adjusted. Search and placement jobs totaled 319,700 in April, 9.0% higher than in the same month last year.

For more information, visit the ASA newsroom. Interviews with ASA executives are available.

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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 affiliated chapters 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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