BLS: Staffing Employment Steady in February


Up 3.2% From a Year Ago

Temporary help employment showed little change (0.1%) from January to February, but was 3.2% higher than in February 2016, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the past six months, year-to-year job growth has averaged 2.3% per month, compared with 1.6% for the 12 months beginning March 2016.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment edged up 0.2% from January to February. Year-to-year, there were 3.2% more staffing employees in February than in the same month last year.

“Staffing companies are reporting increases in demand across several sectors but, for many firms, growth remains constrained by the supply of qualified talent,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “With the number of underemployed and discouraged workers remaining slightly above prerecession levels, the reskilling of the workforce must continue to be a top public and private sector priority.”

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 jobs in February (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for December 2016 and January 2017, job gains averaged 209,000 per month over the past three months, more than the average of 196,000 for the prior 12 months.

The unemployment rate was 4.7% in February, down from 4.8% in January.

BLS also released preliminary January employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, increased 0.6% from December 2016. Search and placement jobs totaled 298,500 in January, 1.7% 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 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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