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BLS: Staffing Employment Steady in October

Up 2.2% From a Year Ago

Temporary help employment edged up 0.1% from September to October, and was 2.2% higher than in October 2017, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth has averaged 3.2% per month in the first 10 months of 2018, significantly higher than the average of 2.2% per month for all of 2017.

Initial BLS estimates on seasonally adjusted temporary help services employment data tend to be materially revised the following year, 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 September to October. Year to year, unadjusted, there were 2.3% more staffing employees in October than in the same month last year.

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 250,000 jobs in October (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for August and September, job gains averaged 218,000 per month over the past three months, slightly more than the average of 211,000 per month for the prior 12 months.

The unemployment rate held at 3.7% in October, continuing a 49-year low.

“The labor market is strong and businesses continue to struggle to fill open positions across many sectors,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “With close to one million more job openings than unemployed workers to fill them, employers need to reexamine their recruitment, retention, and employee development strategies to remain competitive and support continued growth.”

BLS also released preliminary September employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, increased 0.8% from August. Search and placement jobs totaled 316,300 in September, 5.6% 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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