ASA: Spike in Temporary Jobs Hits 20-Year High

The American Staffing Association claims that continued growth in temporary help bodes well for overall job growth, a nod to the latest job numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

In the new BLS report, data shows that:

  • Temporary help employment increased by 2.5%, seasonally adjusted, from November to December. Despite several sectors of the economy losing more jobs, temporary help services was one of the few industries that continued to add jobs during this period.
  • Steady employment gains have occurred in temporary help since a low point in July 2009; staffing has added 166,000 jobs over the past five months.
  • More new temporary jobs were created in December than at any comparable period in the past 20 years.
  • Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment fell by 85,000 in December, with most losses in construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade.
  • The overall unemployment rate remained at 10%.

“Businesses are reluctant to hire new employees until they are more confident in the economic recovery, instead preferring the work force flexibility offered by staffing firms,” says Richard Wahlquist, president of the ASA.

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As such, he thinks the “consistent trend of temporary help job growth” is a positive sign for overall job growth in the near future.

Indeed, economist Hugh Johnson calls it a closely watched number because “temporary help will become permanent help.”

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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