Seasonally adjusted employment data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that staffing firms added 20,300 new jobs from February to March (up 0.8%). In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment for the month was 6.4% higher than in March 2012.
Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicate that the staffing industry added 55,100 new jobs (up 2.2%) from February to March of this year. On a year-to-year basis, there were 6.8% more staffing employees in March than in the same month last year.
Overall U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 88,000 jobs in March, the lowest rate of job creation in nine months. The job gains were far lower than many economists’ predictions, which suggested payroll additions for March would be around 200,000 new jobs.
“It continues to be a very tough employment market in most parts of the country,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Job seekers need to have multifaceted employment search strategies in place that include speaking with local staffing and recruiting firms about their job prospects.”
Employment growth was mostly driven by new job creation in professional and business services (+51,000), health care (+23,000), construction (+18,000), and leisure and hospitality (+17,000). Approximately 40% of employment growth in professional and business services was driven by new jobs created in the temporary help industry. Job losses were noted in retail trade (-4,000) and within government (-12,000).
The overall U.S. unemployment rate edged down from 7.7% in February to 7.6% in March.