Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index reached a new high of plus 32 in May, up from plus 31 in April. In the government sector, perceived job creation ticked up to a new high. Nationally, workers' improved perceptions of hiring activity in their workplaces are a good sign for the economy as summer begins. The positive trend on job creation matches other reports of low unemployment that Gallup and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have found. However, there have also been several negative economic news items. Gallup's measure of Americans' economic confidence in May, and consumer spending was flat, but was down from prior highs. Altogether, the economy appears to show a mixture of good signs and bad signs. However, this new high in perceived job creation is a good sign for U.S. employment.
Within the government sector, the Job Creation Index score reached a new high of plus 25 in May. This is up from plus 22 in April and the previous high of plus 23 in August 2014. Despite the uptick in government job creation last month, perceptions of hiring among nongovernment workers have consistently been stronger than those of government workers since 2009. The index averaged plus 33 among nongovernment workers in May, consistent with the high found in April.
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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