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Robert Half 1Q net income jumps 16 pct.

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Staffing company Robert Half International Inc. said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income jumped almost 16 percent, aided by an uptick in margins and lower expenses.

The company said that demand for employees was soft in international markets, but strong in the U.S., especially for information technology workers and staff placed by its consulting operation, Protiviti.

Net income rose to $55.9 million, or 40 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31. That compares with $48.3 million, or 34 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Revenue was flat at $1.02 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 41 cents per share on $1.04 billion in revenue for the current quarter.

The company benefited from a decline in its selling, general and administrative expenses, which fell to $320.8 million, from $322 million. It also got a lift from higher gross margin, or the amount of each dollar in revenue a company keeps.

Gross margin on the company's quarterly revenue amounted to $410.3 million, up from $402.1 million in last year's quarter.

Robert half shares closed up 17 cents at $36.71. The stock has gained 15 percent this year.