April 14, 2009
Temporary help employment peaked in December 2006, a full year ahead of total nonfarm employment, and had fallen by almost 620,000 by December 2008.
Many see temporary help employment as a leading indicator of labor demand.
Job losses in temporary help services during the current contraction were similar to those seen in 2001 until about 10 months into the contraction, when job losses recovered slightly and employment in the industry stabilized. In 2008, the temporary help services industry continued to experience job losses at an accelerated pace.
Employment losses in temporary help services during the 1990 contraction were relatively mild, and the industry recovered within 2 years.
These data are from the Current Employment Statistics program and are seasonally adjusted. For more information, see "Substantial job losses in 2008: weakness broadens and deepens across industries," by Laura A. Kelter, Monthly Labor Review, March 2009.