The US last month saw its first gain in temp jobs since January, with temp employment rising by 6,600, according to US Bureau of Labor Statics data. The expansion is modest and it could change when the BLS revises data in its next release. In addition, the number of temp jobs is still down by 229,000 from its peak in March 2022.
The total number of temp jobs was 2.9 million in October.
Temp jobs as a percent of total employment — the temp penetration rate — was unchanged in October from September at 1.88%.
Total US nonfarm employment rose by 150,000 jobs in October from September. However, the increase is below the average monthly gain of 258,000 over the past 12 months. Total nonfarm employment is now approximately 156.9 million.
“Today’s jobs report regarding October shows a gradually cooling labor market in response to the Fed’s interest rate hikes that continue to support expectations for a soft landing for the US economy,” said Timothy Landhuis, VP of research at SIA. “For the staffing industry specifically, the modest October job gains in temporary help services are a welcome change after eight consecutive monthly declines, and a possible sign that a bottom may be near.”
The US unemployment rate also edged upward to 3.9% in October from 3.8% in September. However, the college-level unemployment rate, which can serve as a proxy for professional employment, was unchanged at 2.1%.
Industries adding jobs last month included healthcare, up by 58,000 jobs, and government, which saw an increase of 51,000 jobs. Employment also rose in the social assistance sector by 19,000.
On the other hand, manufacturing employment fell by 35,000 in October. The number reflects a decline of 33,000 jobs in motor vehicles and parts that was largely caused by strike activity.
Employers and employees are hunkering down for the cooler months, said Becky Frankiewicz, president and chief commercial officer of ManpowerGroup Inc., commenting on today’s jobs data. People are less likely to leave for new roles now than they were at the height of the pandemic.
“Our real-time data shows that in many sectors, especially blue collar and tech, the market is finding balance,” Frankiewicz said. “The post-pandemic hiring frenzy and summer hiring warmth has cooled and companies are now holding onto employees. The tech sector is cooling from its hyper growth too, although there’s still demand for some highly skilled positions including app developers, cyber security experts and data analysts.”
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by seven cents in October to $34.00, according to the BLS. For production and nonsupervisory employees, average hourly earnings rose by 10 cents to $29.19.