December's job creation index averaged plus 30, down slightly from the monthly record high of plus 32 recorded for six consecutive months in 2015. The plus 30 yearly average for 2015 set a new high.
Net hiring in the private sector, which employs the large majority of U.S. workers, was plus 31 in December, on par with the plus 32 in November but below the seven-year high of plus 34 recorded in October. Government hiring increased two points from November to plus 27, tying the record high found in October 2015. Net hiring generally was similar across regions in December compared with November. The exception is the East, where it fell three points from November.
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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