As America slowly heals from its economic wounds, growing businesses have found themselves reluctant to rehire positions, which were once cut to survive the Great Recession. Unfortunately, that phantom limb created by downsizing can immobilize businesses otherwise poised to seize new opportunities in a rebounding economy.
Bridging the gap between immediate personnel needs and lingering hiring anxiety is the staffing industry. Climbing 14 positions last week, this sector of 17 companies now sits at a Zacks' Industry Rank of #57 out of 259 industries. The industry demonstrated 21 positive earnings estimate revisions compared to only 4 negative revisions, with a respectable average positive earnings per share (EPS) surprise of +29%.
From white collar to blue collar, the Great Recession has left skilled candidates filling the ranks of the unemployed. Staffing companies offer the ability to sort through these ranks for competent matches without concern for longevity. Simultaneously putting people back to work and businesses back to full production could be just the catalyst for recovery.
Each of the following staffing companies have been upgraded this week to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). An upgrade in rank from a Buy or Hold to a Strong Buy demonstrates that a given stock may be headed higher following future positive earnings estimate revisions.
Investigating this upgrade may provide investment strategies with additional factors which take into account both the individual company and the sector as a whole. Both of these stocks also hold a long-term Zacks "Outperform" rating.
There are many companies in this sector, but these are our staff(ing) picks.
True Blue Inc. ( TBI )
TBI was upgraded to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) on July 27 from #3 (Hold). Its next expected earnings report is on October 23, 2013.
True Blue's brands provide general labor, light industrial and skilled trades services to small to mid-sized businesses in the construction, warehousing, hospitality, landscaping, transportation, light manufacturing, retail, wholesale, facilities, sanitation and aviation industries. In addition to the strength of the industry, True Blue's integration of the firm -- MDT Personnel -- earlier this year is complete. Associated costs are no longer expected to weigh on revenue and the added value is anticipated to deliver higher profitability.
TBI's most recent quarterly earnings surprise was +24%.
On Assignment ( ASGN )
ASGN is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). It moved up from a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) just last week. This company reports quarterly earnings on October 23, 2013.
On Assignment, Inc. is a leading nationwide provider of temporary scientific professionals to laboratories in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, chemical and environmental industries. ASGN counts a full 80% of their business specifically in the IT sector. This is important. Recent trends in technology have shifted the focus away from offshore and consulting-based solutions in favor of in-house options, providing increased accountability and oversight.
ASGN's most recent quarterly earnings surprise was +14%.