BLS: Staffing Employment Edges Up in December


Up 4.6% From a Year Ago, Pace of Growth Holds Steady

Temporary help employment edged up 0.2% from November to December, and was 4.6% higher than in December 2016, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth averaged 4.1% per month in 2017, significantly higher than the average of 1.4% for 2016, as reported by BLS following a series of downward adjustments.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment declined 0.5% from November to December. Year-to-year, there were 3.9% more staffing employees in December than in the same month last year.

“The demand for temporary and contract staffing employees remained healthy across most sectors throughout 2017,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Job seekers should be very encouraged about opportunities in the year ahead as the labor market continues to tighten in an expanding economy.”

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 jobs in December (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for October and November, job gains averaged 204,000 per month over the past three months, significantly more than the average of 172,000 for the prior 12 months.

The December unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1% for the third consecutive month.

BLS also released preliminary November employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, changed little (0.1%) from October. Search and placement jobs totaled 295,000 in November, essentially unchanged (0.1%) from the same month last year.

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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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