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BLS: Staffing Employment Grows in May

Up 4.9% From a Year Ago, Continuing Robust Pace of Growth

Temporary help employment grew 0.4% from April to May, and was 4.9% higher than in May 2016, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth has averaged 3.9% per month in the first five 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 2.5% from April to May. Year-to-year, there were 4.8% more staffing employees in May than in the same month last year.

“With the total labor force declining by 429,000 people in May, staffing firms report that recruiting qualified candidates is a growing challenge across several sectors,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “This means that as we head into the summer, job seekers should find they have more flexible and permanent employment options.”

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 138,000 jobs in May (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for March and April, job gains averaged 121,000 per month over the past three months, less than the average of 181,000 for the 12 months ending April 2017.

The unemployment rate declined by 0.1 percentage point to 4.3% in May, the lowest percentage since May 2001.

BLS also released preliminary April employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, edged up 0.2% from March. Search and placement jobs totaled 294,000 in April, 0.5% lower 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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