In one of the most important and highly anticipated jobs reports of the year, the October employment situation kicks off the fourth quarter on a high note with 171,000 job gain and 7.9 percent unemployment rate. These latest job numbers are an indication the U.S. labor market may be embarking on a sustained recovery, with more companies loosening their reigns a bit to keep up with demand and productivity. Private-sector employment added 184,000, largely led by professional and business services (+51,000), healthcare (+31,000) and retail trade (+36,000). The number of temporary jobs increased by 13,600, or 0.5 percent, to 2.54 million in October. Year-over-year, the number of temp jobs rose by 182,400. Businesses appear to be adding consistently to their payrolls, even amidst the impending so-called fiscal cliff, which unless Congress acts, will usher in a host of tax increases and spending cuts.
Not Just a Low-Wage Recovery
Most of what little jobs recovery the Country has enjoyed can be attributed to a gain of lower-paying jobs over the past two years. For example, restaurants and bars have accounted for 15 percent of all job gains thus far in the recovery, and retailers comprise another nine percent. However, it is important to note there are high-paying sectors of the economy that are offering their own contributions. Industries such as, healthcare, technology and engineering are all offering job gains at higher-wage levels to boot. Since February 2010, healthcare has accounted for 17 percent of the jobs added to the economic recovery, while also paying healthcare workers anywhere from $18 an hour to $32 an hour depending on the position, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. The professional and technical services category offers a median wage of $28 an hour and makes up 13 percent of all U.S. jobs added since early 2010.
Worker Confidence Continues to Rise
Randstad’s monthly Employee Confidence Index increased for the second consecutive month to 54.3 in October, up 1.9 points from last month’s reading. The Index finds 66 percent of employees believe the economy is getting better or staying the same versus 59 percent in September. When it comes to their ability to find a job, more than one-out-of-four workers (43 percent) are confident in their ability to find one, a number that has remained strong throughout 2012. Lastly, a majority of workers (70 percent) continue to indicate a sense of security in their current jobs and are not concerned about being laid off.