Tuesday, August 24, 2010

ASA Staffing Index Reaches 97-Week High

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.   

5 Comments:

At 8/24/2010 2:50 PM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

The ongoing improvements "are a leading indicator of broader-based job gains in the months to come."

Or could they be an indication that companies don't see a need to hire full-time employees? Are they just plugging holes until next year when higher taxes/fees hit and they won't need more manpower due to the slowdown in the economy these higher costs will create?

That's not a veiled opinion (I'm not an economist), it's just a question based on other stories I've read about how higher taxes will hurt business next year.

 
At 8/25/2010 1:03 AM, OpenID Boy Plunger said...

Interesting. Although a preliminary interpretation is that companies are filling up positions with staff/temp workers and that this may precede the hiring of full time employees, it may also mean that due to uncommon uncertainty employers are replacing full time jobs for part-timers as this would add enormous flexibility in times of risk as the present one. I think there is a risk here with a narrow, traditional interpretation.

 
At 8/25/2010 7:23 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Boy Plunger:
The problem is that the employers are merely transferring risk to those who cannot transfer risk. They are not creating flexibility for the person doing the work.

Michael Hoff:
More like the fact that employers just want to hold off; doing so to starve people until they get a more favorable government. At some point the taxes will be priced in and people will get hired for more permanent roles; unless the government gets some sense and makes it nigh impossible to dodge cost with temporary roles.

 
At 8/25/2010 8:34 AM, Blogger juandos said...

The raging socialist sethstorm who's always willing to spend someone else's money says: "At some point the taxes will be priced in and people will get hired for more permanent roles; unless the government gets some sense and makes it nigh impossible to dodge cost with temporary roles"...

What makes you think people will stay in business and bet their own money in a socialist atmosphere where business and free markets are considered the enemies of the present regime?

 
At 8/25/2010 9:28 AM, Blogger juandos said...

The American Enterprise Institute's journal is running the following: Why Small Businesses Aren’t Hiring

'The collapse in home prices is holding back small-business hiring. And unless we fix the residential real estate mess, we won’t see small business hiring anytime soon'...

 

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