BLS: Staffing Employment Rises in October

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly employment estimates for over 1,000 industries from its Current Employment Statistics program. BLS LogoThe program includes data from two surveys—one of individual households and one of business establishments. Data from the household survey are used to derive the monthly unemployment rate, while the business establishment survey, which ASA tracks, estimates industry employment levels. These employment data are considered indicators of current economic trends.

Industries included in the BLS establishment survey are identified by the North American Industry Classification System. The system includes 20 “super sectors,” under which similar industries are grouped and then categorized by unique numeric identifying codes.

The staffing industry is surveyed by BLS in the Professional and Business Services super sector, under the following industry categories and codes:

Employment services—NAICS 60561300 Employment placement agencies—NAICS 60561310 Temporary help services—NAICS 60561320

Up 4.1% From a Year Ago, Pace of Growth Steady Temporary help employment grew 0.6% from September to October, and was 4.1% higher than in October 2016, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth has averaged 4.1% per month in the first 10 months of 2017, significantly higher than the average of 1.4% for full-year 2016, as reported by BLS earlier this year following a series of downward adjustments.

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment increased 2.5% from September to October. Year-to-year, there were 4.1% more staffing employees in October than in the same month last year.

“With 85 consecutive months of job growth, the labor market remains healthy and staffing firms continued to see good demand in October across most sectors, helping businesses strategically expand their labor forces,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “However, with the labor force participation rate declining again in October, finding qualified talent continues to be a challenge and a top priority for American businesses.”

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 261,000 jobs in October (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for August and September, job gains averaged 162,000 per month over the past three months, slightly more than the average of 156,000 for the prior 12 months.

The unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 4.1% in October, the lowest since December 2000.

BLS also released preliminary September employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, decreased 0.7% from August. Search and placement jobs totaled 293,500 in September, 0.6% lower than in the same month last year.

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