ASA Staffing Index Surges 11% From A Year Ago
Here's a new (to me) index that was featured on the front page of yesterday's WSJ in the "Vital Signs" section.
"The American Staffing Association (ASA) Staffing Index estimates weekly changes in the number of people employed in temporary and contract work. ASA developed the index to provide a current measure of staffing industry employment trends. The index helps answer the question, "How's business?" It allows staffing companies to evaluate their performance against a national metric on both a weekly and long-term basis. The ASA Staffing Index also serves as a valuable resource for economists, journalists, analysts, researchers, and policy makers who are interested in current trends in staffing employment."
From the most recent monthly report:
"Staffing employment in February is 10% higher than in the same month last year, according to the ASA Staffing Index. The index for February is 80, up from 79 for January."
MP: On a weekly basis, the Staffing Index reached 81 for the week of February 15 (data here), and is up almost 11% from the same week in 2009, which is the highest annual increase in three years. The 11% increase for February 15 marks the 13th consecutive week of positive (or flat) increases in the ASA Staffing Index compared to the same week in the previous year, following 80 consecutive weeks of decreases from May 2008 through mid-November 2009.
In February, the BLS reported that temporary workers had increased in January for the sixth straight month, and along with the recent improvement in the ASA Staffing Index, these two positive trends provide evidence that the labor market is gradually improving. In these early stages of economic recovery, employers remain cautious in their hiring decisions, and use temporary workers initially to meet higher demand for their products. As the economic rebound gathers greater momentum and employers become more confident about continued expansion, they'll start hiring permanent workers.