US temp jobs soar by 40,000, penetration rate hits high

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Temporary employment services jobs increased by rose by 40,400 in December on a seasonally adjusted basis from November — the largest increase this year, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the temporary penetration rate — temporary help jobs divided by total nonfarm employment — reached an all-time high of 2.06 percent in December. The previous all-time high was 2.03 percent.

On a year-over-year basis, temporary employer services added 247,400 jobs, a 9.6 percent increase.

However, total nonfarm employment rose by just 74,000 jobs in December to a total of almost 136.9 million. Bloomberg reported the number was lower than forecast and the lowest increase in three years. Bloomberg reported the number may reflect the impact of bad weather in many parts of the U.S.

Still, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in December from 7.0 percent in November.

College-level unemployment edged down to 3.3 percent in December from 3.4 percent in November. College-level unemployment can serve as a proxy for professional employment.

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