Briefing

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March Jobs Report

Event

U.S. payroll employment rose by 175,000 in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly jobs report. Temporary help services added 24,400 jobs in February. The U.S. temporary penetration rate now stands at 2.03%.

Background and Analysis

In February, the economic sectors that drove employment growth included Professional Services (excluding temporary help) (+54,600), Leisure and Hospitality (+25,000), and Temporary Help Services (+24,400). The information sector (which is primarily composed of media jobs) was the only sector to experience significant job losses (-16,000).

On a year-over-year basis, U.S. payroll employment was up 1.6% in February, and monthly job gains have averaged 180,000 over the past twelve months. Temporary help employment is up 8.8% on the year, and monthly job gains in Temporary Help Services have averaged 19,000 over the past twelve months.

According to the BLS Household Survey, the national unemployment rate increased from 6.6% in January to 6.7% in February.

Staffing Industry Analysts’ Perspective

February job gains mark an improvement from the weak job gains of the previous two months. The economy added 175,000 jobs, which is very close to average job gains over the past twelve months. While February job gains are not spectacular, they are a welcome change from the dismal results of January and December.

The 24,400 jobs gained in temporary help services represents another strong showing for the industry. Year-over-year employment growth remains strong, at nearly 9% - nearly six times faster than the rate of job creation for the overall economy. We maintain a positive outlook for the temporary staffing industry, especially as the economy is forecast to grow faster in 2014 than it did in 2013.

Revisions

National job gains in January were revised upwards, from 113,000 to 129,000 jobs. Job gains in December were also revised upwards, from 75,000 to 84,000 jobs. However, January temporary help jobs were revised downwards, from 8,100 to only 2,100 jobs.

For a complete set of user-friendly graphs and tables in a concise format, download our monthly jobs report digest in Excel: 

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