Weekly Indicator Value Change

Indicator values for the US Staffing, Professional Staffing, and Commercial Staffing Indicators

Updated 8/27/21

The Professional Staffing indexed value was 126 last week, following readings of 125 and 126 in the prior two weeks (ending August 14th and August 7th.)

The Commercial Staffing indexed value was 91 last week, following values of 91 and 92 in the prior two weeks.

The US Staffing indexed value, weighted to reflect the US staffing industry mix of professional and commercial jobs, was 103 last week, following readings of 103 and 103 in the prior two weeks, as shown in the graph below.

Year-over-year change in the US Staffing, Professional Staffing, and Commercial Staffing Weekly Hours Worked

Updated 8/27/21

Temporary staffing hours worked last week (the week ending August 21st) were up 26% compared to the corresponding week a year ago, according to the Indicator. The high growth rate is largely explained by the pullback in temporary staffing that occurred last summer due to the pandemic.

Temporary staffing hours worked in professional occupations (IT, healthcare, finance, engineering, etc.) were up 30% year-over-year.

Temporary staffing hours completed in commercial occupations (industrial and office/clerical) were up 21% year-over-year.

On a week-over-week sequential basis, temporary staffing hours worked were unchanged. Commercial temporary staffing hours were down 0.2%, while professional temporary staffing hours were up 0.8%.

Staffing Industry Analysts’ Perspective

After hitting a patch of softness in the first half of July, temporary staffing hours worked bounced back in the second half of the month. Indicator levels currently remain at or near year-to-date highs for commercial staffing (91), professional staffing (126), and for the overall US staffing indicator (103), a sign of health for the staffing industry.

Commercial staffing was up 21% compared to pandemic conditions a year ago, but down 8% compared to the same week two years ago (in 2019.)

Professional staffing was up 30% y/y compared to a year ago, and up 22% compared to two years ago, with growth supported by robust demand for IT, healthcare, and other professional occupations.

The flattish trend in commercial staffing coincides with a slight uptick in initial jobless claims reported for last week by the Department of Labor. Initial jobless claims rose slightly to 353,000 last week, an increase of 4,000 from the prior week. Unadjusted initial claims increased the most in Maryland, Illinois, and California last week, but claims decreased the most in Michigan, Texas, and Virginia.

We believe the US staffing industry will benefit from the expiration of enhanced federal unemployment benefits in early September, as more candidates return to the labor market. Nevertheless, rising COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant represent a headwind for much of the nation, and especially in many Southern states, with Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi the most impacted.

About the SIA Bullhorn Staffing Industry Indicator

The SIA | Bullhorn Staffing Indicator is a unique tool for gauging near real time weekly trends in the volume of temporary staffing delivered by US staffing firms. Each week the Indicator reports data for the week ended the prior Saturday. It reflects weekly hours worked by temporary workers across a sample of staffing companies in the US that utilize Bullhorn’s technology solutions. The Indicator is weighted and benchmarked against US Bureau of Labor Statistics data to approximate the composition of the staffing industry by skill. While the indicator does not presume to perfectly reflect the entire universe of US staffing firms, it does represent a sizable sample of the US staffing industry, reflecting a wide range of occupations, client industry verticals, and geographic footprint that spans the country.

The Indicator can be used by staffing firms to benchmark their past and current performance, as well as a tool for forecasting near term industry trends and outlook.

As the US temporary staffing industry has often functioned as a co-incident indicator for the US labor market and economy, the SIA | Bullhorn Staffing Indicator is also useful for a broader audience of business leaders and investors who are seeking real-time insight.

The Indicator is a joint custom research effort between Bullhorn and industry advisor Staffing Industry Analysts.

Revisions and Technical notes on the SIA | Bullhorn Staffing Indicator  

We note the readings for the last 4 weeks are subject to revision and so should be viewed as preliminary, with the reading for the last recorded week the most likely to be revised in next week’s data release. Additionally, this release includes a periodic revision to historical indicator data to account for adjustments in prior source data sets. For further information on how the Indicator has been created and detailed technical notes please refer to the methodology.