US: Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index

Wed Apr 01 12:00:00 CDT 2015

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Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index retained its previous monthly average of +29 in March. The index has been in somewhat of a holding pattern for the past few months, albeit at the upper end of the range Gallup has recorded since 2008.

After experiencing significant gains in the first half of 2014, the Job Creation Index has plateaued in recent months, remaining within a thin, three-point range between 27 and 29 since October. That contrasts with a slightly wider six-point variation over the six months prior to that, from 25 to 30.

Despite little recent movement, the index is far above where it has been since Gallup first began reporting it seven years ago. Having plummeted to a low of -5 in April 2009, the index has regained its footing and even surpassed Gallup's readings in early 2008 before the global economic crisis.

Gallup's Job Creation Index is a measure of net hiring activity in the U.S., with the March average based on a nationally representative sample of more than 17,000 full- and part-time workers. The latest +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. Both figures are identical to those in February. Meanwhile 41% in March reported no changes in staffing at their workplaces -- 42% in February.

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.