Seasonally adjusted employment data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed little change in staffing industry jobs from August to September (down 2,000, or 0.1%). In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment for the month was 8.2% higher than in September 2011. Over the previous 12 months, the temporary help industry has added an average of 20,000 jobs to the economy per month.
Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that the staffing industry added 47,100 jobs (up 1.8%) from August to September. On a year-to-year basis, there were 8.7% more staffing employees in September 2012 compared with the same month in 2011. Overall U.S. nonfarm job growth slowed in September as the economy added 114,000 jobs over the month—down from 142,000 in August.
“Although the pace of growth has slowed somewhat since the beginning of the year, staffing firms report that demand continues to be good across most sectors,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Heading into the fourth quarter, businesses remain cautious about adding new permanent staff because of the cloud of uncertainty about the economy and the lack of direction coming out of Washington.”
BLS made revisions to July and August showing that the economy added 86,000 more jobs than originally reported in those months. In 2012, job gains have averaged 146,000 per month, compared with 153,000 per month in 2011.
Employment growth was mostly driven by new job creation in the health care (44,000), transportation and warehousing (13,000), and financial activities (13,000) sectors. Employment declines were noted in the manufacturing sector (–16,000), with most of the losses concentrated in computer and electronic products (–6,000).
The overall unemployment rate dropped 0.3% to 7.8% from last month’s 8.1%.