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Staffing Shares Mixed After Slow Jobs Growth

Reuters (04/09/12) Lynn Adler

After the release of the March jobs report, indicating the lowest
level of hiring since October, shares of several staffing firms
fell on April 9. ManpowerGroup’s shares were down 2.6%, while
Robert Half International fell 3.1%, Kelly Services dipped 1.7%,
and TrueBlue Inc. declined 3%. However, shares rose 1.4% for
Hudson Highland, 1.2% for Adecco, 2.7% for Randstad, and 0.9% for
Michael Page. Jeff Joerres, chief executive of ManpowerGroup,
says, “The trend we’ve seen over the last three or four
months continues, which is a slow, kind of trudging, clawing out
of the hole that we’ve been in. For the second half, we
expect more of the same—slow, having some spurts of better
months than not.”

J.P. Morgan analysts reported on April 9 that flexible staffing
as a percentage of nonfarm payrolls reached 1.87% last month, up
from 1.75% in July 2011 and 1.34% in June 2009, noting, “In
our view, penetration will continue to increase as the memory of
the Great Recession continues to spur businesses to look to flex
staffing as a source of agility.” Most of the new jobs are
in accounting, finance, and information technology, according to
Joanie Ruge, chief employment analyst at Randstad Holding U.S.,
and many of them are long-term projects that could lead to
permanent employment.