Judging by the latest job growth figures, many staffing and recruiting firms have good reason to be optimistic about this country’s economic growth.
This year has been off to a solid start, according to the ADP Research Institute’s national employment report. From Dec to Jan., 246,000 private sector jobs were added, reflecting a 151,000 jump from December. Just as impressive, it’s the largest rise since June when private sector employment increased by 262,000 jobs.
Likewise, total nonfarm jobs rose by 227,000 in January (seasonally adjusted) up from the gain of 157,000 jobs in December. That number exceeded the median forecast in Bloomberg’s survey of economists, which predicted an increase of 180,000 jobs.
Over the past six months, year-to-year job growth averaged 1.5 percent per month, compared with 1.4 percent over the prior months, adds the American Staffing Association (ASA).
Here’s a breakdown of the job growth: goods-producing jobs were up by 46,000 with a gain of 25,000 construction jobs. Service jobs increased by 201,000, which includes 71,000 jobs in the professional/business services sector and 63,000 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities.
However, businesses of all sizes reported growth, according to Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA). While large employers added 83,000 jobs in January, midsize companies added 102,000 jobs, and small businesses added 62,000 jobs.
What’s driving the growth? Two key sectors. According to SIA, retail trade and construction experienced their largest gains since February and March 2016, jumping ahead of healthcare and social assistance and professional services (excluding temporary help) that have led employment growth throughout this economic cycle. However, natural resources and mining had the highest rate of growth in January at 0.6 percent.
“This was the third straight month of gains for the beleaguered sector, reversing a downtrend that had been in place for more than two years,” states SIA.
There’s also good news for temporary help employment. One year after the industry’s worst monthly decline since the recession – when 43,200 temporary jobs were lost in January 2016 – SIA says temporary help employment is recovering. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the industry’s growth rate jumped 0.5 percent – from 1.2 percent in December to 3.3 percent in January.
Temporary jobs also rose by 14,800 between December and January (seasonally adjusted). Due to BLS’ annual benchmark revisions, SIA says that the all time-peak for the temporary penetration rate of 2.06 percent dropped one basis point, to 2.05 percent.
Still, there is room for improvement, says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer at the ASA. Considering that the rate for unemployed and underemployed workers is 9.4 percent – the highest since October – he says many more jobs still need to be created.
Keep in mind that this growing labor market is also luring more people back to work in hopes of finding better employment opportunities, reports The Conference Board. The business research association says that hard data is now confirming the business optimism that previously appeared in surveys.
So far, all signs suggest a strong labor market this year. If stability can reign in Washington, experts say employment figures could even reach new heights.