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BLS: Staffing Employment Up 7.7% From a Year Ago

Seasonally adjusted employment data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed staffing employment increased by 13,600 jobs from September to October (up 0.5%). In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment for the month was 7.7% higher than in October 2011. Over the previous 12 months, the temporary help industry has added an average of 15,400 per month to the economy.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that the staffing industry added 56,800 jobs (up 2.2%) from September to October. On a year-to-year basis, there were 7.2% more staffing employees in October compared with the same month in 2011.

“Staffing employment growth continues to outpace overall labor market growth as businesses look strategically for higher levels of work force flexibility,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Staffing firms report growth in demand across many sectors, led by increases in demand for higher-skilled talent.”

Overall U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 jobs in October, up 0.1% from September. Since the beginning of the year, employment growth has averaged 157,000 per month.

Employment growth was mostly driven by new job creation in professional and business services (+51,000) with one-fourth of this growth attributed to temporary help services. Job gains were also led by health care (+31,000), retail trade (+36,000), leisure and hospitality (+28,000), and construction (+17,000). Employment declines were noted in the mining sector (-9,000). Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the September to October period.

The overall U.S. unemployment rate showed little change from September, increasing 0.1% to 7.9% in October.