Falling Jobless Rate, Increasing Work Hours Contribute to Strengthening Labor Market Says Express Employment Professionals

Mar 09, 2012, 17:06 ET from Express Employment Professionals

OKLAHOMA CITY, March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent employment data indicates that the U.S. labor market could be gaining steam, according to Express Employment Professionals, one of the nation's largest privately held staffing companies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced today that U.S. employers added more than 227,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent as more people began looking for work, marking the three best months of hiring since the recession began. Meanwhile, the average number of hours worked per week has rebounded to 34.5 in December 2011 according to the Economic Policy Institute, up from 33.8 hours in March 2009 and close to the pre-recession average of 34.6 hours.

"February's positive jobs report shows that employers are increasingly confident that the economic recovery is gaining traction," said Robert A. Funk, Express Employment Professionals CEO and chairman of the board. "Because businesses have already restored the hours of existing workers, they are more likely to add new workers to meet additional demand. However, many employers remain wary of adding full-time headcount and are turning to temporary staffing companies to give them the option of growth without the risk and expense."

Recent BLS figures support the idea that employers are turning to flexible staffing solutions as the economy improves. According to the BLS, the number of people employed by staffing services increased seven percent from January 2011 to January 2012. The growth in temporary staffing may prove beneficial for the overall job market as well. An analysis of hiring trends from 1972 through 2008 by the American Staffing Association concluded that temporary employment traditionally serves as a leading indicator of the overall employment market by three to six months.   

"The growth of hiring by staffing services is good news for the economy since staffing companies have traditionally served as a bellwether for the health of the U.S. job market," said Funk. "Temporary workers tend to be among the first cut during economic downturns and the first hired when the job market bounces back."

Funk cautioned business leaders, however, that as job opportunities increase, turnover among disengaged workers increases and recruiters will be on the move to find top talent. A McKinsey Global Institute study found that 71 percent of business leaders expect an increase in generation X and Y turnover, while a separate study by Deloitte concluded that 65 percent of employees are actively testing the job market.

Express Employment Professionals offers a full range of employment solutions including evaluation hire, temporary staffing, professional search and human resources. With more than 550 offices in three countries, Express is committed to the vision of helping as many people as possible find good jobs by helping as many clients as possible find good people. For more information, visit www.expresspros.com.

SOURCE Express Employment Professionals