Staffing down for month, but outlook brightening

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Staffing employment showed little change from June to July, according to the latest data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For the month, jobs filled by staffing firms, usually temporary placements, declined by only 5,600 jobs, or 0.3 percent.

Despite the recent slowdown in job growth, over the past 10 months, staffing firms have added 363,300 new workers to their payrolls.

Views on what the current statistics mean vary, depending on the source.

BLS Commissioner Keith Hall told Congress this month that staffing employment was relatively flat for two months and that job gains had previously averaged 45,000 per month from October 2009 through May of this year.

Staffing industry experts, however, see a glass half full.

Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of American Staffing Association, on the other hand said that while the country has yet to turn the corner on sustained jobs growth, the employment picture has improved.

“ASA members continue to report increases in demand across several sectors. It’s clear, however, that businesses need to feel a much higher sense of confidence about the next several months before they will begin adding back permanent jobs,” he said.