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Staffing Employment Eases Slightly in First Quarter

New Data From Quarterly ASA Staffing Employment and Sales Survey

U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 3.1 million temporary and contract workers per week in the first quarter of 2019, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association—remaining above three million for five consecutive years.

Staffing employment eased 1.2% in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018, which was a 13-year high for the first quarter of the year.

“With more than seven million current job openings and fewer than six million unemployed job seekers, shortages of qualified workers continue to constrain growth for staffing agencies and their clients across several sectors,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “As labor markets continue to tighten, more employers—including staffing agencies—are developing upskilling and work-based learning programs to meet current and future demand.”

Temporary and contract staffing sales totaled $32.9 billion in the first quarter of 2019, inching just above the same quarter of 2018 (0.1% higher).

On a quarter-to-quarter basis, staffing employment and sales typically peak in the fourth quarter, decline in the first quarter, and grow in subsequent quarters. That seasonal pattern held, with staffing jobs contracting by 9.9% from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, and staffing sales declining by 8.4%.

To learn more about the quarterly ASA Staffing Employment and Sales Survey, visit You can also follow ASA research on Twitter.

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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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