The Staffing Industry’s Recovery – How is it going?


The grim Covid-19 statistics have been coming down dramatically (about 50%) since about the middle of January (2021), in the categories of daily deaths, hospitalizations, ICU beds, and ventilators needed according to the “Institute for Health Metrics” (IHME) at the University of Washington.

This wonderful trend is expected to continue through July as vaccinations continue. It is not all good news since another 50,000 are expected to die of this disease between now and July 21.

the “Payroll Protection Plan” (PPP) until June 30, 2021. It became law on March 30, 2021. This is a wonderful program where the “Loans” become actual “Grants” i.e., no payback required, if you spend it on payroll, business mortgage, office rents, and/or other business expenses. See your banker or accountant.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 extended the “Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). The only change is that it is not mandatory but voluntary for the employer. The tax credits, as in the initial legislation are effective rather immediately, via your quarterly payroll tax submissions.

The FFCRA formulas are a little hard to calculate but some staffing Software suppliers have developed a tool to pull the required information easily. (our company does this and I am sure others would also help with generating the required reports)

So, there is “Light” at the proverbial “end of the tunnel” And Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) and The American Staffing Association (ASA) has been tracking the data since the beginning.

It was a truly tragic year with 33% or 1.1 million job losses within the staffing industry alone. Totally there were more job losses than in the Great Depression of 1929-1934. By April of last year this country had lost 20.6 million jobs! It more than doubled the job losses of the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

But in this recession jobs are coming back much more quickly and we should reach 2019 levels by this fall (2021). Both ASA and SIA reported strong comeback growth, especially in the last quarter of 2020 that is continuing into the first quarter of 2021 and beyond,

One very interesting development during this pandemic, was the cooperation agreement between the“ Retail Industry Leaders Association” (RILA) and the “American Staffing Association’.

Through this arrangement, according to ASA, “RILA members can quickly find staffing agencies that are ready to assign temporary and contract employees to job sites throughout the U.S. Especially in demand are warehouse workers; store clerks for unloading, stocking, cleaning, and sanitizing; cashiers and greeters, forklift selectors and pickers; and delivery drivers.

Also interesting about this arrangement with the retailers was the participation of gig and hybrid platform companies like Wonolo, Snagajob, Shipt, HYR and others.

A unique factor that is also helping the staffing industry are contracts being negotiated with staffing companies to staff vaccine centers with trained vaccinators and associated clerical and other support staff. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced in early February that they will spend $3 billion to staff these centers.

Additional staffing contracts are being negotiated to staff local vaccine centers, as well as to do contact tracing and associated clerical support.

There has also been strong offsetting growth during the pandemic in the warehousing, grocery (shopping and delivery” sector plus dramatic increases in “home nursing and nurse staffing in general as reported by SIA

The biggest and most dramatic staffing sector to return, as we get into early summer, will be the extremely hard-hit Hospitality sector. During the pandemic (to date), this sector alone accounted for 40% of the total jobs lost so the return of travel, leisure, events, and hospitality in general, will have a huge effect and not only financially but in restoring the positive spirits of the entire country.

Just being able to travel again, to vacation, eat out with friends, go to the movies or take in a concert will be the biggest factors in lifting the huge cloud that has covered us all.

So, “How is the recovery going in the staffing industry”? Although this is really just the beginning, the actual recovery data, to date, looks good.

Adding to this is the dramatic decrease in Covid deaths & hospitalizations (50%) since mid-January, the expert health institutions predictions of a continuing downward trend, the rapidly increasing rate of vaccinations all add to our solid reasons for hope.

There are, of course, cautions not to abandon the simple and effective Covid mitigation are still needed for just a few more months. But the real end of our long “winter” is in sight! And it is the beginning of Spring too! Wonderful!