BLS: Staffing Employment Steady in December


Up 0.8% From a Year Ago, Pace of Growth Eases

Temporary help employment showed little change from November to December (-0.5%), according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Staffing employment was 0.8% higher than in December 2015. Year-to-year staffing job growth averaged 1.7% in 2016—a significantly slower pace than the average of 4.2% in 2015.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment was essentially flat (-0.2%) from November to December. Year-to-year, there were 1.6% more staffing employees in December than in the same month last year.

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 jobs in December (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported—marking the 75th consecutive month of job growth. Incorporating revisions for October and November, job gains averaged 165,000 per month over the past three months, less than the average of 189,000 for the prior 12 months, and significantly lower than the average of 229,000 in 2015.

“It was a bumpy year for U.S. labor markets as employers in many sectors struggled to find qualified talent while others continued to very cautiously add to their headcounts in a slow growth environment,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Today’s jobs report, which showed that 2016 finished up with the slowest rate of annual employment growth in several years, underscores the importance of Congress and the new administration working together to continue to stimulate economic growth and job creation.”

The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7% in December, up from 4.6% in November.

BLS also released preliminary November employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, increased 0.9% from October. Search and placement jobs totaled 323,600 in November, 4.8% higher than in the same month last year.

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

# # #

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

Related Articles

ASA Workforce MonitorMore than three-quarters of employed U.S. adults (79%) are satisfied with their employers’ pandemic-related return-to-work plans. Download the infographic »

Stay Up-to-Date

Get the latest Covid-19 info & resources for staffing companies.

Follow ASA on the web