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News / Business / Clark County Business

Despite net loss in first quarter, executives at Vancouver-based BBSI feeling optimistic

Staffing, management services company sees bump in gross billings, worksite employees

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 1, 2024, 5:14pm

Despite a loss in its latest earnings statement, Barrett Business Services Inc. executives were optimistic after their first quarter.

“We had a strong start of the year, and our financial results are in line with our full-year projections,” BBSI CEO Gary Kramer said in an investor call Wednesday afternoon.

The company provides staffing and management services — including administration of payroll, workers’ compensation programs and benefits — to small businesses around the country.

Kramer said the company has seen a bump in gross billings and worksite employees.

“We mentioned previously that we began to see our clients’ workforce stabilize in (the third and fourth quarters),” the CEO said. “We are pleased to report that our clients began to hire modestly in the first quarter, as we were forecasting.”

The company saw moderate positive hiring in every region of the country but the Pacific Northwest.

“The Northwest of the country continues to be most impacted by declines in the construction sector,” Kramer said.

BBSI reported that its first-quarter revenues rose to $265.8 million, compared with $254.7 million in the first quarter of 2023.

Still, the company reported a $100,000 net loss, 2 cents per diluted share, in its first quarter. That’s down from its $800,000, or 12 cents per diluted share, income reported in the first quarter of 2023.

The company said the decrease was caused by payroll tax increases. The loss was partially offset, however, by decreasing workers’ compensation expenses and an increase in income from investments.

“In (the first quarter), we always have really low margins because of payroll taxes,” Kramer said.

BBSI is expanding its offerings and partnering with Kaiser to offer its clients HMO plans later this year.

The company trades on the Nasdaq as BBSI. Its stock closed Wednesday at $122.43 per share, up from its Tuesday close of $121.50.