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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights Kforce, Cross Country Healthcare, HireQuest and ManpowerGroup

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 13, 2023 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Kforce Inc., KFRC, Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. CCRN, HireQuest, Inc. HQI and ManpowerGroup Inc. MAN.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

4 Staffing Stocks to Watch on Robust January Job Additions

The Fed aggressively hiked interest rates in 2022 and will continue with its policy this year, too, as the fight to control multi-year high inflation continues. This has raised concerns over the health of the nation's economy, as many now fear the economy might slip into a recession in the coming months.

However, despite growing inflationary pressures, which have compelled people to spend cautiously, the labor market is still going strong. The labor market remained resilient in 2022 and the trend has continued into this year too. This has been helping staffing companies during these trying times. Given this situation, staffing firms like Kforce Inc., Cross Country Healthcare, Inc., HireQuest, Inc. and ManpowerGroup Inc. are likely to benefit in the near term.

Solid Job Additions Continue

After robust job additions in December, nonfarm payrolls once again surged in January. The Labor Department said that nonfarm payrolls surged a solid 517,000, beating analysts' expectations of a jump of a meager 187,000. This follows job gains of 260,000 in December.

While inflation continued to show signs of easing, January proved to be a great month for the labor market, with the figures coming in above the average monthly gain of 401,000 recorded last year.

The enormous beat against the estimate was made possible by growth in a wide range of industries. Leisure and hospitality topped the list, with 128,000 job additions, followed by professional and business services, government and healthcare sectors, which added 82,000, 74,000 and 58,000 jobs, respectively.

The solid jump in January came, although several tech companies announced layoffs but job openings still remain high.

According to the Labor Department, employers posted 11 million job openings in December, the highest since July and an unexpected rise from 10.4 million in November. Also, more Americans entered the labor market in January. The labor force participation, or the proportion of adults looking for jobs or already having a job, increased to 62.4% in January, the highest level since March 2022.

Understandably there are still millions of jobs available as the Labor Department's count of layoffs amounted to less than 1.5 million for 21 straight months.

Also, the January jobs report came as the unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, its lowest level since 1969.

With jobs being added at an aggressive pace amid waning fears of an economic slowdown, staffing companies stand to benefit the most.

Stocks to Watch

Given this situation, investors should keep a tab on staffing stocks, four of which have been discussed below.

Kforce Inc. and its subsidiaries provide professional staffing services and solutions to clients on both a temporary and permanent basis through its Technology and Finance, and Accounting segments. KFRC's Tech Segment provides both Flex and Direct Hire services to clients, focusing primarily on areas of information technology such as systems/applications architecture and development, data management, business and artificial intelligence, machine learning and network architecture and security.

Kforce's expected earnings growth rate for next year is 24.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 7.6% over the past 60 days. KFRC has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. is a national leader in providing innovative healthcare workforce solutions and staffing services. CCRN's diverse client base includes both clinical and nonclinical settings, servicing acute care hospitals, physician practice groups, outpatient and ambulatory-care centers, nursing facilities, both public schools and charter schools, rehabilitation and sports medicine clinics, government facilities, and homecare. Cross Country Healthcare is able to place clinicians on travel and per diem assignments, local short-term contracts and permanent positions.

Cross Country Healthcare's expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 65.7%. Shares of CCRN have gained 17% in the past six months. Cross Country Healthcare has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

HireQuest, Inc. provides temporary staffing services, which include general labor, and industrial and construction personnel. HQI serves primarily in the areas of construction, light industrial, manufacturing, hospitality and event services.

HireQuest's expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 33.3%. Shares of HQI have gained 62.4% in the past six months. HireQuest sports a Zacks Rank #1.

ManpowerGroup Inc. is one of the leading providers of innovative workforce solutions and services across the globe. MAN has a well-established network of 2,500 offices in 75 countries and territories. ManpowerGroup provides its wide range of staffing solutions as well as engagement and consulting services through its major brands — Manpower, ManpowerGroup Solutions and Experis.

ManpowerGroup's expected earnings growth rate for next year is 20.1%. Shares of MAN have gained 15.8% in the past six months. ManpowerGroup carries a Zacks Rank #3.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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