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Temp penetration rate reaches record high in November; temp jobs up by 2.9%

December 07, 2018

US temporary help services jobs rose by 2.9% in November on a year-over-year basis, and the temp penetration rate rose to a record high, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In total, the US added 8,300 temporary help services jobs in November.

“Regarding temporary employment, this month’s report was quite favorable, and not primarily due to the gain of 8,300 jobs in November (which would alone make for a solid month), but due to the revisions to October and September, which added another 18,400 jobs,” said Tony Gregoire, research director at Staffing Industry Analysts. “As a result, the temporary agency penetration rate now stands at a record 2.06%.”

In October, the temp penetration rate was 2.05%.

Total nonfarm jobs rose by 155,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in November. Job gains in November occurred in healthcare, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.

Although hiring fell short of Wall Street expectations, the increase in new jobs was still double the number of people entering the labor force each month, MarketWatch reported. Its poll of economists had forecast jobs would rise by 190,000.

The US unemployment rate remained at 3.7% in November. The college-level unemployment rate — which can serve as a proxy for professional employment — rose to 2.2% in November from 2.0% in October.

In a statement on today’s report, Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board, cited three reasons the job report and other recent economic data releases point to a slowing but still-strong US economy:

  1. A disconnect between the gloom and doom environment in financial markets and real economic conditions.
  2. Slower economic activity, tighter labor markets and higher labor costs will lead to weaker job growth, which the latest job numbers suggest may already be happening.
  3. Even with the expected slowdown, job growth will be more than enough to continue tightening the labor market, leading to faster wage growth and increased inflation pressure in 2019.

Click on charts to enlarge.

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