Staffing Employment Robust in January
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, temporary help employment edged up 0.5% from December 2016 to January 2017, and was 3.3% higher than in January 2016. Over the past six months, year-to-year job growth has averaged 1.6% per month, compared with 1.4% over the prior 12 months.
Staffing employment typically peaks in November or December, drops substantially in January, and grows the rest of the year. BLS adjusts for this seasonality, which results in an increase in seasonally adjusted January job numbers and a dramatic fall-off in non-seasonally adjusted numbers.
Non-seasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that temporary help employment decreased 7.9% from December 2016 to January 2017. But there were 3.1% more staffing employees in January than in the same month last year.
Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 jobs in January (seasonally adjusted), BLS reported. Incorporating revisions for November and December, job gains averaged 183,000 per month over the past three months, slightly less than the average of 187,000 for the prior 12 months.
The unemployment rate was 4.8% in January, up from 4.7% in December 2016.