With the conclusion of the first quarter of 2012, the employment situation continues its recent trend of moderate, but positive job growth. A solid 120,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were added this month, and the unemployment rate remained little changed at 8.2 percent in March. Private-sector employment added 121,000 in March, with manufacturing and food services/drinking places industries leading the growth movement by adding 37,000 jobs, respectively.
worker confidence at record highs
- Employment in professional and business services industry has grown by 1.4 million since a recent low point in September 2009
- Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking places has risen by 563,000 since a recent low in February 2010
- Within health care employment, offices of physicians and hospitals each added 8,000 jobs
- Financial activities employment was also up 15,000 in March
Alongside positive economic news, employee confidence levels are experiencing a record-setting rise over the past few months. In fact, our own Randstad employee confidence index reached a four-year high this past month, indicating workers are beginning to feel more optimism in the national economy and their own personal employment situation. Workers in certain trade professions are particularly optimistic for good reason. Sectors such as, manufacturing, mechanics and electricians are supplying more job openings than there are qualified people to fill them.
Another contributing factor to rising worker confidence is the fact that people are generally getting paid better these days. In fact, March average hourly earnings on private non-farm payrolls increased by 5 cents, or 0.2 percent to $23.39.
women seeing strong job growth
A particularly interesting trend that has emerged towards the latter end of the recovery is a relative turnaround in job growth for women versus men. For nearly all of 2010 and 2011, job growth was significantly stronger for men than for women. However, the last few months have seen a reversal of that trend. Since December 2011, job growth has been much higher for women then for men.
outlook for temporary help services
- The number of employed men rose by only 83,000 in the first two months of 2012, whereas the number of employed women rose by 192,000.
- This is due in large part to recent job gains in white-collar sectors that employ large numbers of women, such as education, health care, restaurants and hotels
- Women also make up a majority of new college graduates and we are also seeing more and more women chipping away at the glass ceiling. In fact, at Randstad we are proud that Linda Galipeau was recently appointed to the Executive Board of Randstad, marking her the first woman in more than 50 years to hold such a position at our company
And finally of note, is the sustained growth seen in the first few months of 2012 within the temporary sector, as many organizations rely on such workers to maintain flexibility in their staffing levels, and as a beneficial source of top talent in today’s marketplace. Although the sector saw a slight decline this month, the strong job gains in January and February were upwardly revised to reflect even higher growth by 14,000 new jobs. The same may be said for March when next month’s report is issued. We expect the growth trend to continue for the foreseeable future as companies see the fiscal and variability benefits materialize from utilizing an integrated staffing approach.
national employment trends
- Non-farm payroll added 120,000 jobs in March
- Private-sector payroll rose 121,000 in March
- Health care: +26,000; Retail: -34,000; Professional and business services: +31,000
- Government: -1,000 jobs; Federal: No Change; State: +2,000; Local: -3,000
- Temporary help sector rose by 45,000 this month
- Temporary help grew approximately four times faster than overall jobs in 2011
- February gains in temporary help marked the largest one-month increase since late 2009
- In February, temporary help services jobs were up 1.9% to 2,473,600
Randstad employment trends & research
- The Randstad Employee Confidence Index reached 55.5 this month
- Marks its highest level in four years and third month of consecutive increases
- More than a third (32%) of employees feel the economy is getting stronger
- Twenty-two percent believe more jobs are available, compared to 19 percent in February