More American workers have reported that their employers were hiring over the past year than in the six years prior, with the latest data from April representing a new high mark. Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index reached plus 31 in April, inching past its previous high of plus 30 from September of last year. The latest reading is up two points from March, and is a break from six months of fairly static measurements.
Since hitting a low point of minus 5 on two separate occasions in 2009, the U.S. Job Creation Index has climbed fairly steadily over the past six years. The first five months of 2014 saw steady increases in monthly readings of the index, rising from plus 19 in January to plus 27 in May. Since then, the index has mostly stayed between plus 27 and plus 29, apart from the higher readings last September and this April.
For the first time since Gallup began tracking the index in 2008, index scores are plus 30 or higher in all four regions of the country. Each region has a new high index score, with the Midwest leading the other regions at plus 33 in April. The index score in the East had never reached the plus 30 mark before the latest poll.
Both government and nongovernment workers reported slightly greater hiring activity, with a two-point increase in each of their index scores for the month of April. For nongovernment workers, last month's plus 33 is a new high in their net hiring perceptions, edging past the plus 32 in September. The plus 22 score among government workers is one point below the high from last August. Perceptions of hiring among nongovernment workers have consistently been stronger than those of their government counterparts in nearly all of Gallup's readings over the years.
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.
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