Employment News Brief - February 3, 2012

  • jobs & the economy
  • February 03, 2012

This yea's employment situation has started off on a more encouraging note than it did in 2011, reinforcing many economists’ projections of a better year for U.S. job creation. The economy added 243,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent. The unemployment rate in January of 2011 was 9.1 percent.

U.S. private-sector employment added 257,000 in January, compared to 119,000 in January 2011. Professional and business services performed well in January with the sector adding 70,000 jobs. Gains were seen in accounting and bookkeeping (+13,000) and in architectural and engineering services (+7,000). Health care employment also trended up, adding 31,000 new jobs in January.

Coupled with this good news, our own U.S. Employee Confidence Index climbed 5.0 points—its biggest increase to date. There is no doubt that the job outlook appears to be brighter this year, and although many reports continue to say that this U.S. recovery is not fast enough to fill the millions of jobs lost, economists recently surveyed by the Associated Press expect employers to add 2.1 million jobs in 2012, an average of 175,000 a month. That would improve upon the monthly pace of 136,000 last year and 78,000 in 2010. 

national employment trends
  • Non-farm payroll added 243,000 jobs in January
  • Private-sector payroll rose +257,000 in January
  • Health care: +31,000; Retail: +10,500;
    Professional and business services: +70,000
  • Government: -14,000 jobs; Federal: -6,000;
    State: +3,000; Local: -11,000
  • Temporary help sector added 20,000 jobs in January
  • The temporary help industry grew by 10.8 percent in 2011
  • In January, temporary help services jobs were up .8 percent to 2,406,000
  • The temporary help services sector is up 7.1 percent year-over-year

The U.S. temporary help sector contributed largely to job creation this month, adding 20,000 jobs in January. This time last year, there were 2,206,100 temporary help services jobs. By the close of the year, there were 2,303,700 logging an overall growth of 4.42 percent in 12 months. In fact, the sector grew approximately four times faster than overall jobs in 2011. We are optimistic that 2012 will continue to see growth within the U.S. temporary services sector, particularly given the strong performance towards the end of 2011—capturing a 1.75 percent market share.

Four key professions are expected to see healthy job gains in 2012. These include technology, finance and accounting, engineering, and healthcare sectors. In our own business, we continue to see high demand for jobs, such as mobile architects, developers, clinical research associates, civil engineers, and forensic and government accountants, to name a few. And, according to Moody Analytics’ recent forecast, professional services, education and healthcare, and leisure and hospitality will lead job growth, collectively producing more than 1 million jobs in 2012.

There’s no denying that the U.S. recovery has been sending some mixed signals, which in turn has created a sense of uncertainty. In spite of this, our latest Employee Confidence Index and January’s jobs report solidifies that we are moving in the right direction and we remain hopeful that the U.S. job market will continue to see improvements in 2012.

Randstad employment trends & research

Recording its biggest climb since the survey’s inception, the Randstad Employee Confidence Index was 52.4 in January 2012 from 47.4 in December 2011. According to a recent online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Randstad, the Index, which measures workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation and optimism in the economic environment, confirms U.S. workers continue to be optimistic about the economy and job market. In fact, workers’ macroeconomic confidence increased 8.5 points this month to 40.1.
  • The 3.5 Index indicated more respondents see conditions improving in the recent past and the next 60-days, compared to respondents who see conditions worsening
  • Not yet at levels that predict a strong economy
  • The index reflects cautious optimism in the short-term outlook