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Total staffing industry revenue this year is projected to be $126.1 billion, down from 2019 revenue of $152.3 billion, according to the “US Staffing Industry Forecast: July 2020 Update” report released this week by SIA.

SIA publishes a comprehensive forecast of the US staffing industry twice a year, in April and September. However, this year we produced this special interim update in response to the fast-changing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying economic impact.

SIA forecasts a 17% decline in the US staffing industry in 2020, a modest upgrade from the 21% decline in our base case forecast from April which called for $119.4 billion in staffing revenue. The new forecast includes a projected 14% decline in temporary staffing revenue and a 36% decrease in the more cyclical place & search category (direct hire and retained search).

“The gradual economic improvements we have recently witnessed and cautious exit from lockdown have led us to be slightly more optimistic about the prospects for the staffing industry in 2020,” said SIA President Barry Asin. “However, it is clear that the prevalence of Covid-19 is different across the US so staffing firms should anticipate marked local variation from our 2020 base case decline of 17%.”

The new the “base” case 2020 forecast assumes masks, social distancing and other measures provide enough containment of the virus such that widespread lockdowns do not recur; federal unemployment benefits from the CARES Act are not extended beyond their July 31 expiration; and a Covid-19 vaccine or treatment becomes available in the first half of 2021.

As the US economy gradually recovers throughout 2021, SIA projects 11% growth in temporary staffing revenue and 19% expansion in place & search.

Only two segments of the staffing industry are expected to show revenue growth this year: travel nurse, up 5%, and life sciences, up 3%. The industrial segment — the temporary staffing sector seeing the most disruption — is forecast to decline 22% this year.

The full report is available online to corporate members of SIA.

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