The Job Market – March 2013
March was another big month for the temporary help industry. Staffing firms added between 20k-50k new jobs between the end of February and end of March. Year-to-year, the number of temporary jobs grew by 6-7% when compared to temporary jobs in March 2012.
The growth in temporary jobs is explainable in the context of the broader market where the economy added 88,000 jobs in March. This is the lowest rate of job growth in nine months and far below the 200,000 or more jobs predicted by many economists. This is just another example where growth in temporary jobs often goes hand-in-hand with a slowing down or increased volatility in the larger job market.
Overall employment growth was primarily driven by new jobs in professional and business services (+51,000), health care (+23,000), construction (+18,000), and leisure and hospitality (+17,000).
The overall U.S. unemployment rate took a small dip downward from 7.7% in February to 7.6% in March.
Other negative news came from tracking layoffs where March reported companies announcing over 49,000 in layoffs. While this represents an 11% downtick of announced layoffs from February, it is a 30% increase over layoffs reported in March 2012. The first quarter of 2013 saw more announced layoffs than any quarter since 2011.
A recent survey by PNC Financial Services Group indicates that the owners of small and midsized businesses planned to delay hiring new employees despite what is otherwise their cautious optimism about the economy in general. Three out of four small and midsized businesses expect their staffing to remain unchanged for the next six months.
It would appear that the optimism with which most businesses started this year is now being tempered by ongoing reports of actual results falling short of expectations.
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