The American Staffing Association (ASA) reported on Tuesday that its weekly Staffing Index of temporary and contract employment activity increased to a level of 96 for the week ending November 18. That’s the highest level of staffing industry employment since late 2007, almost five years ago (see top chart above). The ASA Staffing Index is a near real-time measure of temporary and contract employment levels in the U.S. and is considered to be a leading indicator of total U.S. payroll employment.
BLS data on monthly employment levels through October for “Temporary Help Services” are consistent with the ASA Staffing Index. The bottom chart above shows that temporary payroll employment increased in October to 2.54 million workers, the highest level since January of 2008, almost five years ago.
MP: Both the ASA Staffing Index and the BLS measure of temporary workers have been trending upward for the last three years and are now close to their pre-recession levels. As leading indicators of overall U.S. labor market demand, these ongoing positive trends in temporary hiring are signs that the labor market is gradually improving and may translate into an increased pace of broader-based hiring for workers going forward into 2013.