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US adds temp jobs in August, but rise nearly offset by downward revisions

September 06, 2019

The US added 15,000 temporary help services jobs last month, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the agency revised downward the number of temp jobs added in July by 12,100, and the total number of temp jobs are down compared to the total number of temp jobs in December.

“Despite the attractive headline of gaining 15,000 jobs in August, the rise was nearly offset by downward revisions, and the industry is still down year-to-date in terms of jobs,” said Tony Gregoire, research director at Staffing Industry Analysts. Weaker trends in temporary staffing and in some industrial jobs are consistent with a cooling economic backdrop.

The temp penetration rate was 2.00% in August, little changed from July.

Overall, the US added 130,000 nonfarm jobs in August compared to July, but the number reported in July was revised downward by 20,000. The Conference Board noted that excluding the hiring of 25,000 temporary workers to prepare for the 2020 Census, the gain in August was just 105,000.

“Employment growth is clearly slowing down, and the remaining growth is concentrated in just three services sectors: professional and business services, health care and government,” according to The Conference Board.

The labor market remains still remains tight, it noted.

Total unemployment held steady at 3.7% in August, unchanged from July, according to the BLS data. The college-level unemployment rate fell to 2.1% in August from 2.2% in July.



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