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U.S. Sheds 7,500 Temp Jobs in December

January 06 2012

The number of U.S. temporary help jobs fell by 7,500 during December for a total of approximately 2.30 million, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 0.3 percent decline is the first monthly decrease since June 2011 when the U.S. lost 7,000 temporary help jobs. In addition, the BLS revised down November's gain in temporary employment to 11,200 from the initially reported 22,300.

However, temporary jobs were still up by 96,500 in December compared with the same month a year ago.

The temporary help penetration rate was 1.75 percent in December, unchanged from November.

The employment services category shed 11,600 jobs in December for a total of approximately 2.96 million jobs. The employment services industry includes temporary help services as well as employment placement agencies, executive search services and professional employer organizations.

Despite the drop in temporary jobs, the U.S. still added 200,000 jobs overall in December, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the BLS. In addition, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent in December from 8.7 percent in November. The college-level unemployment rate, which can serve as a proxy for professional employment, was 4.1 percent in December, down from 4.4 percent in November.

The private sector gained 212,000 jobs in December, but the government sector lost 12,000.

The transportation and warehousing industry added 50,000 jobs in December with 42,000 of those jobs in the courier and messengers industry. Seasonal hiring in this industry was particularly strong, according to the BLS.

Manufacturing added 23,000 jobs in December after four months of little change.

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