Staffing Employment Sees Seasonal Dip in First Quarter


2Q 2021 Revenue Expected to Rise 20%

U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.7 million temporary and contract workers per week in the first quarter of 2021, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association—down about 100,000 from the fourth quarter of 2020.

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 continued, but at the lowest reduction in rates since the first quarter of 2010, with staffing jobs contracting by 3.6% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 and staffing sales declining by 2.6%.

Staffing jobs declined 3.7% in the first quarter of 2021 from the same period in 2020, while temporary and contract staffing sales increased 5.2% year-to-year—totaling $33.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

“Staffing firms are currently on the front lines helping America address a new crisis—millions of more new jobs are being created than there are people currently seeking work,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “To support continued economic growth, getting sidelined workers vaccinated, upskilled, and back into the workforce must be top priorities for the government and the private sector as we continue to put the pandemic behind us.”

Staffing companies appear confident both short and longer term, expecting their second-quarter revenue to grow 20% year-to-year and projecting to expand 11% for the full year of 2021 compared with 2020.

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

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


ASA Workforce MonitorMore than three-quarters of employed U.S. adults (79%) are satisfied with their employers’ pandemic-related return-to-work plans. Download the infographic »

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