Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index increased by a point for February, to a current score of plus 29. This is slightly higher than the readings of plus 27 or plus 28 found over the previous four months, and just shy of the record for Gallup's seven-year trend, which was plus 30 in September 2014.
The index has experienced a slow, but steady rise over the past several years after hitting a monthly low of minus 5 in February and April 2009. Last year, Americans' perceptions of job creation experienced some of their greatest gains -- particularly in the first half of the year -- before the index hit its seven-year high in the fall.
Reflecting the index gains over the past year, the plus 29 index score for February is eight points higher than that of February 2014.
Gallup's Job Creation Index is a measure of net hiring activity in the U.S., with the February average based on a nationally representative sample of more than 15,000 full- and part-time workers. February's plus 29 score is the result of 41% of employees saying their employer is hiring workers and expanding the size of its workforce, and 12% saying their employer is letting workers go and reducing the size of its workforce. Forty-two percent reported no changes in staffing at their workplaces.
Americans who work for nongovernment employers had slightly more positive perceptions of hiring at their jobs in February (plus 31) than in January (plus 29), with the current score just one point below the high of plus 32 found in September. Nongovernment jobs account for the large majority of employment in the U.S.
Government workers also saw an increase in hiring from the previous month -- by one point, reaching a score of plus 20.
Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index has shown tremendous growth since 2009, including an increase of eight points since last February. According to Gallup, Americans' perceptions of the jobs outlook are consistent with the fairly promising reports delivered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in recent months.
The index's current score is now on the high end of its historical range, although the positive momentum of the past few years has mostly leveled off, with only modest increases at best since the fall. The Job Creation Index has had the best recent performance of Gallup's economic indicators.
Gallup's Job Creation Index is based on a question that Gallup tracks daily, asking a nationally representative sample of 500 to 600 working adults, aged 18 and older, and reports monthly based on approximately 14,000 interviews. Gallup asks its sample of employed Americans each day whether their companies are hiring new people and expanding the size of their workforces, not changing the size of their workforces, or letting people go and reducing the size of their workforces. The resulting index -- computed on a daily and a weekly basis by subtracting the percentage of employers letting people go from the percentage hiring -- is a real-time indicator of the nation's employment picture across all industry and business sectors. The survey is conducted with respondents contacted on landlines and cellphones.
The hiring and firing trends that are the basis for Gallup's Job Creation Index provide key new insights into the potential future direction of job market conditions. Gallup's Job Creation Index provides information not available in some government indicators. For example, the government's weekly new jobless claims measure only reflects workers filing for benefits, yet not everyone who is laid off files for unemployment. The index may also detect hiring trends days or weeks before they are manifested in the official unemployment rate or other lagging indicators. Gallup has tracked its Job Creation Index daily since January 2008.