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Staffing Employment Surges in 2021


Competition for Qualified Talent Heats Up

The staffing industry continued recovering from the 2020 pandemic recession in 2021, as U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.7 million temporary and contract workers per week. While still below the 3.1 million average weekly workers before the pandemic in 2019, it represents a marked improvement over the 2.5 million recorded in 2020.

“As the U.S. economy continues adding back jobs after the pandemic recession, the staffing industry is playing a key role in getting people back to work,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “However, with more than 11 million current job openings, to compete in the war for qualified talent employers need to finely tune their recruiting and retention strategies, embracing flexibility in work schedules and providing more professional development and upskilling opportunities for their employees.”

ASA data show average weekly staffing employment fell 19.5% in 2020 before bouncing back 9.5% in 2021. Annual temporary and contract staffing sales totaled $144.2 billion in 2021, a new record high and an increase of 17.9% from the recession-impacted $122.3 billion in 2020.

During all of 2021, staffing companies hired a total of 14.1 million temporary and contract employees, up from the 13.6 million hired in 2020. The average length of employment with a staffing agency was 10.1 weeks in 2021, an increase over an average tenure of 9.6 weeks seen in 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 (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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