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Temp jobs rise by 10,000 in August, overall employment up 201,000

September 07, 2018

US temporary help services jobs rose by 2.9% in August on a year-over-year basis, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared to July, the number of US temp jobs rose by 10,000. And in a revision to the previous month, temp jobs rose by 10,900 in July instead of the previously reported gain of 27,900.

The temp penetration rate — temporary jobs as a percent of total employment — was 2.04% in August, unchanged from July.

“As the pool of available new employees diminishes, companies will increasingly need to hire workers who already have jobs, which could accelerate movement from lower-wage service jobs in the leisure/hospitality and retail industry groups into industries such as manufacturing, construction, and natural resources/mining,” said Tony Gregoire, director of research for the Americas at Staffing Industry Analysts.

Total nonfarm jobs rose by 201,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in August. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, healthcare, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and mining.

The US unemployment rate remained at 3.9% in August. The college-level unemployment rate — which can serve as a proxy for professional employment — fell to 2.1% in August from 2.2% in July.

August’s jobs gain was in line with the trend of the past year, according to Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board.

“We expect economic growth to remain strong in the coming year, leading to more of the same: solid employment growth that will continue to tighten the labor market and draw more people back into the labor force,” Levanon said in a statement. “Growing labor market tightness will increase recruiting difficulties, labor turnover and compensation.”

Levanon added that the 12-month growth in average hourly earnings accelerated to 2.9%, the highest in this expansion, but still below the pre-recession rates. Labor market tightness varies significantly across occupations and geographies. Supply constraints are more visible in blue-collar occupations, where The Conference Board observes faster wage growth.

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