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Staffing Employment Sees Best First Quarter in Eight Years

U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.96 million temporary and contract workers per week in the first quarter of 2014, up 3.2% from the same period in 2013, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association. Despite the extraordinary winter weather that adversely affected days worked in much of the U.S., average weekly employment this January through March was higher than in any first quarter since 2006, when it was 3.10 million.

“Businesses continue to turn to staffing companies for flexible workforce solutions and to add staff to keep up with growing demand,” says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “That means more temporary and long term opportunities for job seekers as more staffing employees bridge to permanent jobs.”

Temporary and contract staffing sales totaled $26.64 billion in the first quarter of 2014, 2.6% higher than in the same period last year.

Staffing employment and sales typically peak in the fourth quarter, decline in the first quarter, and grow in subsequent quarters. That seasonal pattern meant that staffing jobs were down 7.0% (224,300 employees) from the fourth quarter to the first, and sales declined 5.9% ($1.67 billion).