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Staffing Employment Hits Six-Year Low in First Quarter


2Q20 Revenue Expected to Drop 20%

U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.8 million temporary and contract workers per week in the first quarter of 2020, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association—falling below three million for the first time in six years amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Staffing employment decreased 8.9% in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019—the largest year-to-year decline seen in the past decade.

“While the decrease in staffing employment has been significant during the pandemic, staffing agencies continue to provide personnel across all essential occupations necessary to ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health, safety, and well-being,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “As businesses begin to reopen, job seekers can look to the staffing industry for increased access to immediate employment.”

Staffing companies expect their second-quarter revenue to drop 20% and anticipate full-year revenue to decline 10% on a year-to-year basis.

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 and was likely exacerbated by the early stages of the pandemic in the U.S., with staffing jobs contracting by 12.0% from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020 and staffing sales deteriorating 9.3%.

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

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About the American Staffing Association (ASA)

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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