Last November, virtually every candidate for public office—from president to local assem-
blyman—made the same pledge: “If elected, I
will make job creation my top priority.”
I don’t doubt their sincerity, but I do question
Because, with some obvious exceptions, politicians don’t create jobs. But they can shape, for
better or worse, an environment conducive to job
So now it’s nearly a year later. What does the
jobs report card look like?
The Great Recession ended in July of 2009—
more than four years ago. Yet, according to recent
government data, there are about two million
fewer people employed in the U.S. than before
the economy went into a tailspin. And, the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are
still more than 20 million Americans who are
unemployed or underemployed.
Staffing Jobs Report Card
Last year, under the auspices of Ciett, ASA and
the global staffing community also made a jobs
pledge. Especially here in the U.S, this jobs report
card continues to be a very good one.
During the past four years, the ASA annual
economic analysis has chronicled the role that
the staffing industry has played in helping put
America back to work. During that period, staffing firms have added close to one million new jobs
to the U.S. economy, far outpacing virtually every
other sector and industry.
Staffing employment growth in this cycle also
has far outpaced the same period following the
last recession—by a long shot. And further analysis suggests that the forces behind this growth are
real, sustainable, and portend very favorably for
the staffing and recruiting industry’s future.
The period of time between economic cycles is
getting shorter, here and around the world. Businesses get it.
As Steve Berchem, ASA chief operations
officer, reports in this issue, there is growing evidence of a structural shift in the way businesses
are turning to the staffing industry for talent and
Companies are placing an increased premium
on creating more flexible and agile workforces.
And, they are strategically rethinking what the
right balance should be between permanent and
Moreover, businesses around the world are
increasingly looking for ways to more effectively
and efficiently source, deploy, and develop talent.
In many ways, 2013 is shaping up to be a record
year for the staffing industry. But, of course, there
can be a real disconnect between measurements of
growth and the metrics of success.
Sustainable success is built on the quality of the
services and solutions provided to clients. And,
most important, sustainable success is built on
the quality of the experiences created for staffing and recruiting firms’ most important asset—
talent. This is true in periods of economic growth
as well as periods of economic contraction.
It’s about much more than the number of
people staffing firms place and employ or the
number of clients they serve. It’s about the value
added to the lives of those individuals and firms.
It’s about the stories they tell.
Enjoy this annual deep dive into the data and
trends affecting the industry—and don’t miss the
bonus feature in this issue on staffing and health
care reform. It’s a topic ASA will continue to stay
on top of for its members. n
are placing an
on creating more
flexible and agile
they are strategically rethinking
what the right
balance should be
between permanent and flexible
The Voice of Staffing
By Richard Wahlquist, President and CEO
Metrics of Success