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Staffing firms see solid demand, US economy expands at modest pace

June 06, 2019

Overall, economic activity expanded at a “modest pace” from April through mid-May, and employment increased nationwide with most Federal Reserve districts reporting modest or moderate job growth, according to The Beige Book report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve.

Hiring demand was solid for staffing agencies and other businesses including retail, technical, manufacturing and construction. But tight labor markets constrained employment growth. Shortages of both high-skilled and low-skilled workers were noted.

However, wage pressure remained “relatively subdued” given low unemployment rates.

In the Boston district, staffing firms reported clients accepted higher bill rates to see qualified candidates. Several Boston district staffing firms also reported increases in length of temporary contracts along with less demand for direct hires. “They conjecture these changes reflect their clients’ uncertain expectations stemming from the threat of a trade war with China,” according to the report.

In the Philadelphia district, most staffing firms reported orders were flat to down through the first quarter and into the second.

One staffing firm in the Minnesota district reported “We keep stirring the [labor pool] pot, and there’s nothing left in it that wants to work.”


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