Moderate Growth Continues Despite Hurricane Activity: Temporary help employment edged up 0.2% from August to September, and was 3.8% higher than in September 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 nine months of 2017, significantly higher than the average of 1.4% for full-year 2016.

Non-seasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment increased 2.0% from August to September. Year-to-year, there were 3.8% more staffing employees in September than in the same month last year.

“Even though many staffing companies were affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in late August and September, the overall demand trend line continued to be positive last month,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “As was the case in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, staffing firms are playing a key role in providing temporary personnel to assist public and private sector organizations with recovery efforts.”

Total U.S. non-farm payroll employment changed little (-33,000) in September (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for July and August, job gains averaged 91,000 per month over the past three months, significantly less than the average of 172,000 for the prior 12 months.

The unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 4.2% in September, the lowest since February 2001.

BLS also released preliminary August employment data for search and placement services, which, seasonally adjusted, edged down 0.2% from July. Search and placement jobs totaled 294,800 in August, 1.1% higher than in the same month last year.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have affected data collection in many BLS surveys. Further discussion of the impact of the recent hurricanes on the September estimates can be found in the Commissioner’s Statement on the Employment Situation.

Source: American Staffing Association

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