US temporary staffing revenue will grow by 11% this year to a total of $134.7 billion — surpassing the pre-pandemic level in 2019, according to the “US staffing industry forecast: April 2021 update” report released Tuesday by SIA.
Temporary staffing revenue had fallen by 8% last year as Covid-19 took hold and measures to fight the disease also hit the economy.
SIA’s new forecast assumes strong GDP growth as more people become vaccinated, the economy re-opens and the federal government’s fiscal and monetary measures help spur the economy.
“The fact that the temporary staffing industry only declined 8% in 2020, by our estimates, is a testament to the resilience and innovation displayed by staffing firm leaders and their teams,” said Timothy Landhuis, director of research, North America, at SIA. “The decline was also partially offset by high single-digit growth in life sciences and overall healthcare staffing, as staffing firms in these segments rose to the occasion and played a heroic role in fighting the pandemic.”
The quickest growth is in education temporary staffing where revenue is projected to rise by 25% this year. Education staffing was hit hard last year with a decline of 35% as schools closed amid the pandemic.
On the flip side, travel nurse staffing had surged in 2020 with growth of 35% as healthcare facilities scrambled to meet the needs of the pandemic. This year, travel nurse revenue is expected to grow by 10% before declining by 20% in 2022 as crisis pay rates go away.
IT staffing revenue is forecast to grow 9% this year and by 6% in 2022. IT proved to be among the most resilient of staffing sectors; it fell by just 5% in 2020. The relative outperformance led IT staffing to become the largest industry segment in 2020 in terms of revenue.
Industrial staffing revenue is projected to grow by 16% after falling by 12% in 2020. Growth drivers include recovery in the manufacturing and hospitality sectors. The report noted a candidate shortage in industrial staffing during the pandemic caused by factors such as skills mismatches and the presence of additional federal unemployment benefits that incentivize candidates to not work.
Separately, direct-hire revenue is projected to rise by 15% this year and retained search revenue is expected to rise by 15% as well.
SIA corporate members can download the complete report.