U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.7 million temporary and contract workers per week in the first quarter of 2021, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association—down about 100,000 from the fourth quarter of 2020.
On a quarter-to-quarter basis, staffing employment and sales typically peak in the fourth quarter, decline in the first quarter, and grow in subsequent quarters. That seasonal pattern continued, but at the lowest reduction in rates since the first quarter of 2010, with staffing jobs contracting by 3.6% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 and staffing sales declining by 2.6%.
Staffing jobs declined 3.7% in the first quarter of 2021 from the same period in 2020, while temporary and contract staffing sales increased 5.2% year-to-year—totaling $33.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
“Staffing firms are currently on the front lines helping America address a new crisis—millions of more new jobs are being created than there are people currently seeking work,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “To support continued economic growth, getting sidelined workers vaccinated, upskilled, and back into the workforce must be top priorities for the government and the private sector as we continue to put the pandemic behind us.”