Manpower deal a sign of economic strength

February 2, 2010

Global staffing firm Manpower reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit amid improved demand for temps. Based on trends it sees in the employment business, it is growing more and more confident that economic recovery has traction.

How confident? It is also buying professional staffing firm Comsys IT Partners, a provider of technology staff, for $17.65 per share, or $431 million including debt. Rival Spherion said late on Monday it would buy Tatum LLC, a provider of interim executives, for $46 million. In its quarterly results, Manpower also forecast its first quarterly sales increase in more than a year.

Always hot monthly non-farm payrolls data is due out at the end of the week. While it may not provide the bullish magic bullet economists hope for the recovering U.S. economy – currently, economists are forecasting a slim 5,000 rise in jobs for the month — the deals buzzing around the worker service space are at least signs that the business of employment is healthy enough to digest deals.

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