Staffing industry revenue may only reach $119.4 billion this year, a 21% drop from 2019 ($151.8 billion), according to the April 2020 update of the US Staffing Industry Forecast. The prediction accounts for a 43% reduction in place and search and a 17% decline in temporary staffing.

These outcomes are part of the report’s base-case forecast, which assumes that the COVID-19 lockdown situation will last until the end of June this year. At that point, the economy will begin a steady recovery, and the forecast predicts that overall staffing revenue will bounce back with a 14% increase in 2021. 

If this scenario comes to pass, several segments within the temporary staffing market should expect to experience sharp declines this year, followed by gains in 2021. Only the healthcare sector would see growth in 2020.

Market‌ ‌Category‌ 
2019‌ 
2020‌ 
2021‌ 
Education‌ 
7%‌ 
-20%‌ 
25%‌ 
Engineering‌ 
5%‌ 
-23%‌ 
15%‌ 
Finance/‌ 
Accounting‌ 
2%‌ 
-15%‌ 
10%‌ 
Healthcare‌ 
4%‌ 
1%‌ 
0%‌ 
Industrial‌ 
0%‌ 
-25%‌ 
18%‌ 
IT‌ 
4%‌ 
-14%‌ 
17%‌ 
Marketing/‌ 
Creative‌ 
7%‌ 
-20%‌ 
15%‌ 
Life‌ ‌Sciences‌ 
8%‌ 
-25%‌ 
15%‌ 
Office/‌ 
Clerical‌ 
-2%‌ 
-25%‌ 
25%‌ 

Within direct hire, the base case scenario predicts a 50% decline in revenue in 2020, and retained search will fall by 30%. Both categories may then experience a 20% recovery in 2021.

The report also covers two other possible scenarios:

  1. If nationwide lockdowns end in May and the economy makes a quick recovery, the forecast suggests that staffing revenue will only drop by 10% this year, with an 8% gain next year.
  2. If the US experiences repeated lockdowns and temporary economic improvements throughout the year, predictions show a 45% decline in staffing revenue in 2020 and a 10% increase in 2021.

Source: US Staffing Industry Forecast: April 2020 Update, from Staffing Industry Analysts