Up 3.8% From a Year Ago, Pace of Growth Picks Up
Temporary help employment grew 0.4% from February to March, and was 3.8% higher than in March 2016, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth has averaged 3.5% per month in the first three months of 2017, significantly higher than the average of 1.4% for full year 2016.
Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment increased 1.4% from February to March. Year-to-year, there were 3.9% more staffing employees in March than in the same month last year.
Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000 jobs in March (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for January and February, job gains averaged 178,000 per month over the past three months, less than the average of 193,000 for the prior 12 months.
“Staffing companies report clients across several sectors continue to express optimism about increasing flexible and permanent headcounts in the months ahead,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Economic and employment indicators suggest slow, but sustained, long-term growth—an encouraging sign for job seekers.”
The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to a 10-year low of 4.5% in March.
BLS also released preliminary February employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, decreased 1.3% from January. Search and placement jobs totaled 294,000 in February, 0.3% higher than in the same month last year.
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