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BLS: Staffing Employment Steady in May

Up 3.0% From a Year Ago

Temporary help employment changed little (-0.3%) from April to May, but was 3.0% higher than in May 2017, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth has averaged 3.6% per month in the first five months of 2018, significantly higher than the average of 2.2% for all of 2017.

BLS’s initial estimates on seasonally adjusted temporary help services employment data tend to be downwardly revised, according to an American Staffing Association analysis of BLS data.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment increased 1.7% from April to May. Year to year, unadjusted, there were 3.0% more staffing employees in May than in the same month last year.

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,00 jobs in May (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for March and April, job gains averaged 179,000 per month over the past three months, lower than the average of 191,000 for the prior 12 months.

After reaching an 18-year low of 3.9% in April, the unemployment rate edged down even further to 3.8% in May.

“With the continued tightening of the labor market, finding qualified workers has become a top priority for businesses of all sizes and across most sectors,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Closing the growing skills gap through the training, retraining, and upskilling of the American workforce is the new business imperative.”

BLS also released preliminary April employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, grew 0.9% from March. Search and placement jobs totaled 311,600 in April, 4.7% higher than in the same month last year.

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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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