Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Watch for temp jobs weakness in Friday’s employment report

 - by New Deal democrat

Yesterday I looked at manufacturing jobs, and goods-producing jobs generally, as two what to look for in Friday’s jobs report.

Today let’s follow up with temporary jobs, an acknowledged leading indicator for jobs as a whole.

As I wrote about a couple of months ago, the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Index does a good job forecasting the trend in temporary jobs in the monthly employment report.

And here, the news is becoming slightly, but more and more, negative. In the four week period through the end of March, the YoY comparison slipped to -1.7%, its worst yet:

The index went negative YoY at the turn of the year, and has gradually deteriorated since.

Meanwhile here is the monthly change in temporary jobs from the employment report for the past several years:

After the 2015-16 shallow industrial recession, the growth in temp jobs picked up decently. But in the last four months, only about 2250 temp jobs per month have been added. I am looking for this decelerating trend to continue, and the decline in the Staffing Index indicates we shouldn’t be surprised if there is an outright loss in temp jobs in the report on Friday.