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Staffing Employment Falls to Great Recession Levels in Second Quarter


3Q20 Revenue Expectations Improve

Following a six-year low in staffing employment during the first quarter of 2020, second quarter data released today by the American Staffing Association reveal the Covid-19 pandemic’s significant negative impact on providers of workforce solutions. U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.1 million temporary and contract workers per week in the second quarter of 2020—the lowest since the Great Recession.

Staffing employment decreased 33.6% in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019—a historic year-to-year decline.

“Amid government mandated business shutdowns, the staffing industry has played a critically important role in supplying essential workers whenever and wherever needed since the first days of the Covid-19 crisis,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “At the same time, the staffing industry has been able to provide employment to more than 2 million workers each week in the second quarter, especially important to job seekers affected by furloughs and layoffs.

Temporary and contract staffing sales totaled $25.9 billion in the second quarter of 2020, down 24.1% from the same quarter in 2019 and a nearly nine-year low. Staffing companies expect their third-quarter revenue to improve sequentially with a year-to-year decrease of 12% predicted for the quarter, and a 13% decrease for the full year.

“During the first two months of the third quarter, staffing companies reported gradual but steady improvements in demand across many sectors as the country pushes to recover and businesses begin increasing the size of their flexible and permanent workforces,” said Wahlquist. “Barring a second wave of Covid-19 related shutdowns, those increases are expected to continue through the balance of the year.”

On a quarter-to-quarter basis, staffing jobs contracted 26.5% from the first to the second quarter of 2020 and staffing sales fell 19.3%.

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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