Staffing Industry Creates Job Growth in March 2011
Staffing Adds Jobs in March, BLS Says
Data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows seasonally adjusted staffing industry employment added 29,000 new jobs in March, increasing temporary help payrolls by 1.3% from February. Temporary help firms have added approximately 500,000 workers to industry payrolls since August 2009, when BLS seasonally adjusted data on staffing employment began to show growth.
In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment is 12.5% higher than March 2010. The job gains in temporary help over the month, along with those in professional and technical services (35,000), led March employment growth in the service sector of the economy.
"We are seeing encouraging signs that the jobs recovery is developing traction," says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. "The fact that firms are now adding to both their flexible and permanent work forces means that demand for U.S. goods and services is up and that confidence is growing as we head into the second quarter."
Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that staffing employment increased 2.4% over February. On a year-to-year basis, there were 13.3% more workers employed in March compared with the same month in 2010. The ASA Staffing Index, which is also not seasonally adjusted and therefore is comparable to the nonadjusted employment figures reported by BLS, indicated a 9% increase in staffing payrolls since March 2010.
BLS also provides employment estimates for search and placement firms, but those are nonseasonal only, and reports lag one month. Friday, BLS reported that search and placement employment in February was up 3.2% from January, totaling 242,200 for the month. In a year-to year comparison, February employment was up 8.8% from the same month in 2010, continuing the trend of year-to-year employment growth in search and placement that began last spring.
Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 216,000 new jobs from February to March. Job gains were mostly concentrated in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and mining. The overall unemployment rate of 8.8% was little changed from last month's figure of 8.9%. Since last November, the jobless rate has fallen by one percentage point.