During the week of Sept. 20–26, 2010, temporary and contract employment rose 1.36%, pushing the ASA Staffing Index up to 100. The last time the weekly index hit 100 was during the week of May 12, 2008, meaning current employment in the staffing industry has returned to a level comparable to that of approximately 29 months ago—just before employment in the staffing industry contracted in response to the recession, which the National Bureau of Economic Research said began in December 2007.
The fact that the index is now at 100 indicates that U.S. staffing employment is approximately 25% higher than in the same weekly period last year.
The ASA Staffing Index at 100 serves as a milestone in observing staffing employment trends—much like the 10,000-point mark in the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index. The ASA Staffing Index was launched at 100 in June 2006. It grew beyond 100 most of the rest of that year and continued to grow in 2007, peaking at 110 during the fourth quarter of 2007, when the economy peaked, according NBER. With the economy in recession, the ASA Staffing Index hovered around 100 in the first few months of 2008, then began slipping moderately until September when it plunged sharply to 69 at the end of the year.
Now, having returned to the milestone of 100, the index indicates that staffing employment has returned to levels comparable to the early part of 2008—and reminiscent of the summer of 2006 when the staffing industry was growing.