Feb 26, 2020

The US added 6,400 temp jobs in December on a month-over-month basis, an increase of 0.21% and up from an increase of 0.13% in November, according to seasonally adjusted data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, the temp penetration rate — the percentage of total employment that is temp jobs — edged up to 2.00% in December from 1.99% in November.

“After declining in the first half of the year amid a softening economic backdrop, mild improvement in temporary staffing volume suggests the worst of the slowdown is behind us,” said Tony Gregoire, research director at Staffing Industry Analysts.

The average month-over-month decrease in temporary jobs was 0.17% in the first six months of the year; the average increase was 0.08% in the last six months of 2019, according to BLS data.

Still, looking back over the year, there were 16,500 fewer temp jobs in December than in December 2018. US temp jobs totaled 3.04 million in December.

Meanwhile, total employment in the US rose by 145,000 jobs to 152.38 million in December, although jobs gains had averaged 184,000 over the last three months.

The US unemployment rate was 3.5%, unchanged from November. The college-level unemployment rate edged down to 1.9% in December from 2.0% in November.

Retail trade added 41,000 jobs in December while healthcare added 28,000. Construction was little changed, adding 20,000 jobs in December, while employment in transportation and warehouse was also little changed, with a decrease of 10,000 jobs.

In addition, manufacturing posted little change in December with a decrease in employment of 12,000 jobs.

The Conference Board noted employment growth will likely moderate in 2020 as the labor market continues to tighten.

“Employers hiring blue-collar and manual services workers will have a harder time recruiting and retaining current employees,” according to The Conference Board. “For these workers we also see strong wage acceleration, much faster than growth in the average hourly earnings, which stagnated in 2019 at around 3.2% and weakened this month to 2.9%.”

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose by three cents in December to $28.32; the average hourly wage for production and nonsupervisory employees rose two cents to $23.79.

Source: Staffing Industry Analyst

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