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Staffing Employment Edges Down in Third Quarter


Staffing Jobs Dropped 1.7% From Second Quarter

The number of temporary and contract workers employed by U.S. staffing companies eased 1.7% to an average of 2.4 million workers per week from the second to the third quarter of 2023, according to the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Employment and Sales Survey released today by ASA.

The decline reflects the overall slowdown in the pace of job creation during much of the past year among employers of all sizes in the face of volatile macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions and forecasts. Amid that cooling job market, temporary and contract staffing sales also declined by 3.5% during the same period.

On a year-over-year basis, staffing jobs declined 14.1% in the third quarter of 2023, while temporary and contract staffing sales decreased 14.5% to total $34.7 billion in the third quarter of 2023.

“As always, the staffing, recruiting, and talent solutions industry pivots quickly to assist employers with their variable and changing needs for flexible and permanent staff. In contrast to the furious pace of hiring in late 2021 and much of 2022, employers are now settling into a new normal of slow and steady growth,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA chief executive officer. “But with 1.3 openings per worker, labor markets remain tight and employers continue to struggle with recruiting workers with the most in-demand skill sets—something we expect to continue for the foreseeable future.”

Private company survey respondents are cautiously optimistic about the new year, with median expected year-over-year first quarter 2024 growth of 3.1% compared to the first quarter of 2023. Respondents expect to close 2023 with lower sales than in 2022, with a median expected decline of 5.3%.

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


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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