U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.6 million temporary and contract workers per week in the first quarter of 2023, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association—down about 310,000 from the fourth quarter of 2022.
“While labor markets remain healthy, macroeconomic concerns resulted in a slowdown in demand for temporary and contract labor in the first quarter,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Although staffing employment is down from last year’s highs, staffing demand remains above pandemic levels and the staffing industry remains poised to meet the needs of a resilient labor market.”
On a quarter-to-quarter basis, staffing employment and sales typically decline in the first quarter, grow in subsequent quarters, and peak in the fourth quarter. That seasonal pattern was evident to start the year, however, with a slowing economy, staffing jobs contracted by more than usual—declining by 10.8% from the fourth quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023—and staffing sales declined by 8.6%.
Year-to-year, staffing jobs declined 6.5% in the first quarter of 2023 from the same period in 2022, while temporary and contract staffing sales decreased 1.5% over that span to total $37.4 billion in the first quarter of 2023.
Staffing companies continue to foresee growth in 2023, as they expect their third-quarter revenue to grow 3.0% year-to-year and project full-year 2023 sales to expand 2.1% compared with 2022.