WASHINGTON – The latest job numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate temporary employment increased by 2.5 percent, seasonally adjusted, from November to December.

Temporary help services was one of the few industries that continued to add jobs during this period, according to the American Staffing Association.

“Businesses are reluctant to hire new employees until they are more confident in the economic recovery, instead preferring the work force flexibility offered by staffing firms,” said ASA President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Wahlquist.

The national unemployment rate remained unchanged in December, holding at 10 percent.

“This past December, the economy lost 85,000 jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

Employment fell in construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade, while temporary help services and health care added jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From October to November, temporary employment added 52,000 jobs for an increase of 2.9 percent, the ASA said.

“Because staffing employment is a leading indicator, the consistent trend of temporary help job growth bodes well for overall job growth in the near future,” Wahlquist said.

More new temporary jobs were created in December than at any comparable period in the past 20 years. The staffing industry has added 166,000 jobs over the past five months, BLS commissioner Keith Hall noted.

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