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BLS: Staffing Strong in Weak December Jobs Report

Seasonally adjusted employment data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that temporary help employment added 40,400 new jobs in December (up 1.5% from November). In a year-to-year comparison, staffing firms employed 9.6% more temporary workers in December than in the same month a year ago, according to BLS.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that the staffing industry added 17,500 jobs in December (up 0.6% from November). On a year-to-year basis, there were 9.0% more staffing employees in December than in the same month last year.

“We expect to see a continued increase in the strategic use of workforce solutions designed to help companies more effectively source and utilize talent in the year ahead,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “This is good news because it means more employment opportunities and options for U.S. workers.”

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 74,000 jobs in December, BLS reported. Economists expected 200,000 or more. Monthly job gains averaged 182,000 in 2013. The unemployment rate declined from 7.0% to 6.7% in December.

Temporary help as a percentage of total nonfarm employment increased to 2.06%, appearing to set a new record over the 2.03% penetration rate peak in April 2000. However, BLS data will be revised several times in the coming months.