The American Staffing Association (ASA) Staffing Index for temporary and contract employment activity reached a 97-week high of 95 for the week of August 9, the highest index level since a reading of 97 in the week of September 29, 2008 (see chart above, data here).
Compared to the same week last year, the latest ASA Staffing Index has improved by 26.7% for Week 33 (see bottom chart above). This marks the 17th week in a row with percentage gains above 20% compared to the same month in 2009, the 26th straight week of double-digit percent increases vs. 2009, and the 32th consecutive week for the ASA Index being above the same level in the previous year (every week this year). The improvements this year follow 80 consecutive weeks of percentage declines in the weekly index that started in May 2008 and continued through the end of 2009.
The ongoing improvements in the ASA Staffing Index in every single week this year compared to 2009, along with the recent 97-week high in temporary help suggest that the labor market is gradually recovering from the recession, and the increases in demand for temporary and contract employment are a leading indicator of broader-based job gains in the months to come.