The number of jobs in the "temporary help services" industry slipped to approximately 2.52 million in August, down by 4,900 from July, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the number of temp jobs added in July was cut to 6,700 from the initially reported gain of 14,100.
Temporary employment as a percent of total employment — the temporary help penetration rate — slipped to 1.89 percent in August from 1.90 percent in July.
However, employment rose by 6,700 jobs, or 0.4 percent, in the "employment services industry" to 3.2 million. The employment services industry is a broader category that includes temporary help services as well as employment placements agencies, executive search services and professional employer organizations.
Total nonfarm employment disappointed in August with the U.S. adding only 96,000 jobs for total employment of 133.3 million, seasonally adjusted.
August's job gain comes in below the estimated gain of 201,000 private sector jobs estimated by the national employment report released Thursday by Automatic Data Processing Inc. (NASD: ADP).
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in August from 8.3 percent in July, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the BLS. However, the labor force participation rate declined. The college-level unemployment rate, which can serve as a proxy for professional employment, was unchanged in August at 4.1 percent.
"The meager 96,000 job gain in August, after a downwardly revised gain of 141,000 in July, reflects a labor market that remains slow in a disappointingly weak economy," said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board. "Companies are focused on squeezing more productivity gains out of existing workers and keeping a tight lid on labor costs."
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