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ASA: Staffing Employment Grew 4.1% in 2012

U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.9 million temporary and contract workers per day in 2012, up 4.1% from 2011, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association. In 2012, U.S. staffing firms hired 11.5 million temporary and contract employees over the course of the year.

The average turnover rate for temporary and contract workers was 294% in 2012, lower than the 362% reported for 2011.

“The staffing industry played an important role in helping to put America back to work in 2012, providing temporary, contract, and permanent employment for millions of people across every sector and occupation,” says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Through career counseling, training, employment, and job placement, staffing and recruiting firms add value to peoples’ lives, from their first jobs to retirement.”

In the fourth quarter of 2012, average daily staffing employment totaled 3.0 million workers, up 1.9% from the third quarter of 2012 and up 1.0% from the fourth quarter of 2011. The October through December period marked 12 consecutive quarters of year-to-year staffing job growth since the recession ended in 2009.

Temporary and contract sales totaled $104.8 billion in 2012, 6.6% higher than in 2011. Fourth quarter sales totaled $26.8 billion, up 2.4% from the same quarter last year.

Jobless Claims Hint at Improving Labor Market

Reuters (02/28/13) Lucia Mutikani

The number of people who applied for jobless benefits dropped in the most recent weekly data, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report that signals continued labor-market gains even as the economy faces massive federal spending cuts. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 22,000 to 344,000 in the week ended Feb. 23. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 360,000. Longer-term claims trends also point to improvement. The average of new claims over the past month, which smooths out weekly volatility, fell 6,750 to 355,000.

New GDP Estimate Shows Economy Grew 0.1% in 4Q

USA Today (02/28/13) Tim Mullaney

The U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of 0.1% in the last three months of 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported today, wiping away an initial estimate that said the economy shrank as a big drop in defense spending and weak exports held down growth. The new figure fell short of economists’ consensus forecast that the economy grew 0.5%. A month ago, the government estimated that the economy shrank at a 0.1% annual rate in the quarter.

Machinery Orders Gain Shows U.S. Companies Plan to Grow

Bloomberg (02/27/13) Alex Kowalski

Orders for U.S. durable goods excluding transportation equipment climbed in January by more than they have over the past year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. The increase in orders indicates that businesses intend to expand capacity. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years—minus such things as aircraft—rose 1.9%, exceeding all forecasts of the economists surveyed. Meanwhile, orders for capital goods excluding defense and aircraft rose 6.3% in January, the most since December 2011, and machinery bookings rose 13.5% in January from the previous month, the most since May 2010.

Sequester Cuts Already Hurting Small Businesses

MoneyWatch (02/28/13) Constantine von Hoffman

The sequester spending cuts, scheduled to go into effect March 1, already are hurting small businesses. Many small businesses have been affected by U.S. Department of Defense cuts and cuts by other government agencies, which have curbed their spending in anticipation of the sequester, according to Karen Mills, the outgoing head of the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2011, 20% of the Pentagon’s prime contracts and 35% of its subcontracts were awarded to small businesses. Those contracts are now at risk.

Free ASAPro Webinar Today—Minimize Distractions at Your Firm

Don’t miss this afternoon’s ASAPro webinar, “Minimize the Drama in Your Office.” Learn how to build a successful team and eliminate conflict through teamwork and good communication. The webinar takes place 3–4 p.m. Eastern time today.

This webinar is free for ASA members and qualifies for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. Register online at