The SIA | Bullhorn Staffing Industry Indicator is a unique new tool for gauging current weekly trends in the volume of temporary staffing delivered by US staffing firms.
With the US temporary staffing industry often functioning as a lead indicator for the US economy and labor market, the
SIA | Bullhorn Staffing Industry Indicator is also useful for business leaders, investors and market observers seeking forward-looking insight.
The Professional Staffing indexed value was 125 last week, following readings of 118 and 119 in the prior two weeks (ending July 17th and July 10th.)
The Commercial Staffing indexed value was 91 last week, following values of 83 and 87 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 95 and 98 in the prior two weeks, as shown in the graph below.
Temporary staffing hours worked last week (the week ending July 24th) were up 35% 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 37% year-over-year.
Temporary staffing hours completed in commercial occupations (industrial and office/clerical) were up 31% year-over-year.
On a week-over-week sequential basis, temporary staffing hours worked were up 8.6%. Professional temporary staffing hours were up 6.1% and commercial temporary staffing hours were up 9.6%.
Staffing Industry Analysts’ Perspective
After hitting a patch of softness in the first half of July, temporary staffing hours worked bounced back robustly in the third full week of July. Indicator levels reached a year-to-date high for commercial staffing (91), professional staffing (125), and for the composite US staffing indicator (103), providing a bullish signal for the staffing industry.
Commercial staffing was up 31% compared to lockdown conditions a year ago, but down 6% compared to the same week two years ago (in 2019.)
Professional staffing was up 37% 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 bounce back in temporary staffing hours last week coincides with this week’s positive report on initial jobless claims from the Department of Labor. Jobless claims fell to 400,000 last week, a decline of 24,000 from the prior week. Jobless claims declined most in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas, but increased in California, Nevada, and Tennessee, according to Bloomberg.
We believe the US staffing industry will continue to expand as the US economy continues to recover this year, although growth may come in fits and starts. The bounce back in Indicator levels last week demonstrates the resilience of the staffing industry following some modest declines in the prior two weeks. We believe that more candidates are likely to reenter the workforce in coming weeks as vaccinations continue to progress, as schools return to session, and as enhanced unemployment benefits draw to a close in early September.
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.