BLS: Staffing Employment Holds Steady in March


Up 3.8% From a Year Ago

Temporary help employment remained unchanged (0.0%) from February to March, but was 3.8% higher than in March 2017, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth has averaged 3.7% per month in the first three months of 2018, significantly higher than the average of 2.2% for full year 2017, as reported by BLS earlier this year 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 increased 0.9% from February to March. Year-to-year, there were 3.8% more staffing employees in March than in the same month last year.

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 jobs in March (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for January and February, job gains averaged 202,000 per month over the past three months, higher than the average of 186,000 for the prior 12 months.

“Although the pace of hiring slowed, March marked the 90th consecutive month of job growth—the longest streak on record,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “The labor market looks fully recovered from the Great Recession; however, the supply of qualified workers who are not already employed is not growing fast enough to keep up with increases in demand.”

The March unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1% for the sixth consecutive month.

BLS also released preliminary February employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, grew 0.8% from January. Search and placement jobs totaled 309,300 in February, 3.7% higher than in the same month last year.

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