September 16, 2021

Staffing Employment Edges Down in Second Quarter

U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.6 million temporary and contract workers per week in the second quarter of 2021, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association—down about 74,600 from the first quarter.

Temporary and contract staffing employment rose 27.3% in the second quarter of 2021 from the same period in 2020—when staffing jobs suffered a historic loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Staffing sales totaled $35.0 billion in the second quarter, a 35.3% increase year-to-year.

“One of the biggest challenges facing employers as the U.S. continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic is finding enough workers to meet demand,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “It’s time to think outside the box about new opportunities to provide workers with greater degrees of flexibility and new ways to support employee growth and career development.”

Staffing companies are optimistic about the next few months, expecting their third-quarter revenue to grow 21% year-to-year and project an expansion of 20% for the full year of 2021 compared with 2020.

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How Do Candidates Feel About Their Job Prospects?

Eight in 10 job candidates (80%), both active and passive seekers, foresee working for a new company in the next 12 months—despite, or possibly due to, the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.—according to the 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study by ASA and its corporate research partner, ClearlyRated. The data from the survey, among other results, reveal a sense of optimism about employment and job-related opportunities as the nation continues to fight Covid-19.

The Candidate Sentiment Study also sheds light on candidates’ perceptions regarding how they look for jobs (online vs. offline resources), the reasons why they decide to leave a job, and their experiences partnering with staffing agencies―with distinct differences reported among generations, industry sectors, races/ethnicities, and genders. A report of the survey findings is available for purchase—get more information at

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The Latest From Your Colleagues on ASA Central

ASA Central—the dynamic online community just for staffing professionals—is home to more than 20,000 staffing professional profiles and countless ongoing industry conversations.

This week, take a look at your colleagues’ discussions and some of the blogs they’ve posted on ASA Central:

Get involved with the community—update your profile today so you can network with colleagues, join a section community, recommend and comment on your colleagues’ posts, and share your own blog or discussion post. Log in to ASA Central now.

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Staffing Today is published by the American Staffing Association, with news abstracts copyrighted in 2023 by SmithBucklin of Chicago, IL, and all other content copyrighted in 2023 by ASA. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission.

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