ASA Staffing Index Surges 15% From Year Ago
According to the American Staffing Association (ASA):
1. "Temporary Help Employment Is a Strong Coincident Economic Indicator When the Economy Is Emerging From a Recession — A sustained upturn in staffing jobs would signal the end of the current recession."
2. "Temporary Help Employment Is a Leading Indicator for Nonfarm Employment - Staffing job trends lead nonfarm employment by three months when the economy is emerging from a recession and by six months during periods of normal economic growth."
From the ASA's most recent report:
"Staffing employment in March is 15% higher than in the same month last year, according to the ASA Staffing Index (see chart above). The index for March is 83, up from 80 for February, suggesting that staffing employment has increased almost 4% over the past month. Staffing payrolls have shown steady growth over the past five weeks."
1. Since the first of the year, the ASA Staffing Index has increased or remained flat in every week except one.
2. For the last 17 weeks going back to last November, the ASA staffing increased from the same week in the previous year, following 80 consecutive weeks of annual percentage decreases that started in May 2008.
As I reported earlier, today's BLS report showed a record 6-month increase of 312,600 temporary workers from October 2009 to March 2010. Along with the recent strong improvement in the ASA Staffing Index, these two positive trends in temporary hiring provide convincing evidence that the labor market is gradually improving, and as leading indicators suggest a continuation of the employment gains that started in March (162,000 jobs).
In the 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 current economic rebound gains greater momentum and employers become more confident about a continued economic expansion, they'll start hiring permanent workers - which will bring down the jobless rate in the coming months.