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Staffing Jobs 6% Higher Year-to-Year in First Quarter of 2012

U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.78 million temporary and contract workers per day during the first three months of 2012, according to recent data released by the American Staffing Association, based on its quarterly Employment and Sales Survey.

“In the face of a painfully slow jobs recovery, staffing firms continue to play an important role in helping job seekers get back on the employment track,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of ASA.

From January through March of this year, U.S. temporary and contract employment, while experiencing a usual seasonal dip from the fourth quarter of 2011 (-4.4%), was 6% higher year-to-year. This is the ninth consecutive quarter of year-to-year staffing industry job growth since the recession ended in 2009.

“Employers remain hesitant to add permanent employees due to uncertainty about the current strength of the economy and future economic conditions, including impending tax increases and spending cuts expected to take effect in January 2013. In times like these, businesses are being much more strategic in sourcing additional talent and maintaining work force flexibility,” Wahlquist says.

Temporary and contract sales totaled $25.0 billion in for the first quarter of 2012—9.8% higher than in the same quarter last year.

U.S. Leading Economic Index Increases

Conference Board News Release (06/21/12)

In May, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. edged up 0.3% to 95.8, compared with a 0.1% decrease in April, with economist Ataman Ozyildirim noting that the gain was modest due to weakness in the average work week in manufacturing, stock prices, and consumer expectations. Meanwhile, the Conference Board Coincident Economic Index for the U.S. rose 0.2% to 104.3, following a similar gain in April, and the Conference Board Lagging Economic Index for the U.S. climbed 0.3%, versus a 0.6% decline the month prior. “Economic data in general reflect a U.S. economy that is growing modestly, neither losing nor gaining momentum,” says Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board. “The result is more of a muddle through.”

Employees: Staffing Firm Shut Down, Said No One Would Be Paid

CBS 2 Chicago (06/22/12)

Chicago-based Prime Staffing abruptly shut down Thursday. The company sent employees a notice about the closure, adding that employees would not be paid. The notice stated: “I regret to inform you that effective immediately, Prime Staffing is out of business. Our bank has decided to immediately close our line of credit that we relied on to fund the operations of this company….Outstanding checks will not be honored and all funds in our account are being applied to pay down the line of credit. We have no leverage to prevent this.” Protesters from Occupy Chicago will be at the Prime Staffing office Friday in support of the employees who now say they are owed money.

Weak U.S. Job Market Weighing on Broader Economy

Associated Press (06/21/12) Christopher S. Rugaber

On June 21, the U.S. Department of Labor said applications for unemployment benefits slipped to 387,000 last week from 389,000 the week prior, but the four-week average increased to a six-month high of 386,250. The number of jobs added in April and May averaged 73,000 per month, down from an average of 226,000 during the first quarter. Additionally, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s index of regional manufacturing activity dropped to a nearly one-year low of -5.8 from -16.6, though the measure of future expectations climbed from 15 in May to 19.5 in June.

Reminder: This Is the Nonmember Version of Staffing Today

Because your firm is not an ASA member, you are now receiving the nonmember version of Staffing Today, which excludes the Legal Watch and Trends and Research sections.

Join ASA today and start reaping the many benefits of membership, including the full version of Staffing Today, free ASAPro professional development Webinars, and special member-only registration rates for Staffing World 2012, Oct. 9–11 in Las Vegas.

ASA membership matters. Learn more and join today.

Another Reason to Join ASA: Free Webinars and Archived Courses

ASA membership offers an impressive list of benefits—which is why so many industry professionals turn to ASA for valuable resources and educational opportunities.

Why should you join ASA today? ASA provides free live ASAPro Webinars and more than 150 free courses for your entire staff—and ASAPro Webinars qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal.

For additional information, contact ASA at 703-253-2020 or