Survey: Staffing Flat in Early 2007

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<p><strong>Alexandria,&nbsp; Va. &mdash; May 29</strong><br />Staffing industry growth in the first quarter of 2007 continued a trend of moderation that first became notable in the second half of last year, according to survey data released by the American Staffing Association.<br /><br />America&rsquo;s staffing companies employed an average of 2.8 million temporary and contract workers per day from January through March &mdash; down 1.8 percent or 50,000 workers compared with the same period last year. </p><p>This follows a similar year-over-year decline in the fourth quarter and little growth in the third quarter of last year.<br /><br />&ldquo;Key reasons for slackened employment growth include a slowed economy and a tight labor market,&rdquo; said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. &ldquo;With a low unemployment rate and demand outstripping supply, recruiting qualified talent is the staffing industry&rsquo;s No. 1 challenge today.&rdquo;<br /><br />Separately, Wahlquist notes, the ASA Staffing Index (which measures weekly changes in staffing industry employment) has shown a gradual increase since the beginning of the year, with a marked uptick since the close of the first quarter. </p><p>&ldquo;The latest data suggest that staffing industry employment may be resuming a more normal pattern of growth,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />U.S. sales of temporary and contract staffing totaled $17.4 billion in the first quarter of this year, a slight decline of 0.2 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the ASA survey. </p><p>The virtually flat quarter follows a fourth quarter that registered year-over-year growth of a nominal 0.7 percent.</p>

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