Friday’s national economic situation release marked the end of the first six months of 2012, which brought a mixed bag of poor, neutral and positive news on the job front. This month, the country added jobs at a modest pace, with 80,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in June and an unchanged unemployment rate of 8.2 percent. Private-sector employment dropped from 105,000 in May to 84,000 in June, with professional and business services bouncing back from last month’s decrease to add 47,000 new jobs this month. Healthcare employment continues to be strong, rising by 13,000, alongside an increase in manufacturing of 11,000. One of the brightest spots of the June job report was the increase of 25,000 temporary jobs which indicates that employers are still hiring but seem to be cautious to make those permanent hires.
We believe the economy is experiencing a summer slump, which is currently impacted by Europe’s debt crisis, a slight slowdown in manufacturing orders and uncertainty around U.S. fiscal policy.
- Within healthcare, employment in home health care services grew by 3,600 jobs in June after adding 5,900 in May.
- Decreasing in May for the first time since 2009, jobs in professional and business services are on the rise again, with increases in management and technical consulting services (+9,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+7,000).
overview of economic situation for first half of 2012
While unemployment has remained largely unchanged in the first six months of the year, it doesn’t reflect the highs and lows that have characterized this period in our nation’s employment situation. When we look closer at the overall jobs picture, there are many industries, such as leisure and hospitality, engineering, IT and healthcare, that have aggressively increased their payrolls since the recession ended in 2009 as well as in the first six months of this year. Less than positive performance has plagued several sectors so far this year, including construction, financial services and government.
Several factors, including isolated pockets of job demand, improving corporate profits and employee confidence in their personal employment situation, have helped to stabilize the employment market so far this year. We expect to see this continue throughout the remainder of 2012.
conference board consumer confidence and Randstad worker confidence index continue to decline slightly
Consumer confidence declined again in June, marking the fourth consecutive month of decline. According to the most recent Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, consumers are slightly more positive about current conditions but slightly more pessimistic about the short-term future of business conditions and incomes. This may result in a slowing of consumer spending, despite improving gas prices. However, even with the recent drop, overall consumer confidence is up sharply from 2011 and remains at a level usually associated with moderate economic growth. Similar results were reported in the Randstad U.S. Employment Report, which tracks employee confidence as an indicator of what’s happening in the economy and labor market. In June, the index was down for the third month in a row, registering at 51.1 and ending the second quarter on a downward trend, reflecting growing concern over the economy. While the overall June index dipped by 2.1 points, employee confidence levels in 2012 continue to average higher than in the last six months of 2011.
women in the workplace more optimistic than male counterparts
The latest Randstad Engagement Index also found that women are typically more optimistic and happy in their jobs, compared to male workers. They also appear to be more upbeat on the economy overall. The study found that 39 percent of men and 31 percent of women feel left behind in their career because of the economy. In addition, 21 percent of men and 17 percent of women think they’re likely to lose their job this year. Female workers are also more likely than men to give their employer an “A/B” grade when it comes to offering training opportunities (52 percent vs. 47 percent). Women also believe that their company is making the right investments in the workforce for the future, more so than their male counterparts (65 percent vs. 60 percent). Additional findings include:
- Forty-seven percent of men and 42 percent of women plan to explore other job options with the job market picks up.
- More men are actively seeking a new job than women, 14 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively.
- Women are more likely to agree that they feel secure in their employment (78 percent vs. 73 percent).
Finally, one trend that has remained consistent throughout the first half of 2012, and that we believe will be sustained throughout this year, is employers’ growing reliance on temporary workers. In fact, temporary staffing is close to a record high of two percent (the number of temporary workers as a percentage of all workers). According to a recent Harvard Business Review survey, 58 percent of companies plan to use temporary employees at all levels over the next few years. Similarly, a survey by Staffing Industry Analysts found that businesses plan to increase hiring of temporary staff by 26 percent over the next two years. As employers remain cautious in hiring full-time positions, we believe temporary hiring will continue to be strong.
national employment trends
- Non-farm payroll added 80,000 jobs in June
- Private-sector payroll rose 84,000 in June
- Professional and business services: + 47,000; Health care: +13,000; Manufacturing: +11,000; Retail: -5,400
- Government: -4,000; Federal: -7,000; State: -1,000; Local: +4,000
- Temporary help services added 25,000 jobs in June (almost half of all jobs added in professional and business services)
- Year-over-year segment growth of 10.7 percent represents a 13-month high
- Estimated total number of temporary workers: 2.5 million
- Temporary help penetration has reached 1.9 percent, its highest level in five years
Randstad employment trends & research
- The Randstad Employee Confidence Index decreased to 51.1 in June, ending the quarter on a downward trend
- Just less than a quarter (24 percent) of employees believe the economy is getting stronger
- Employee confidence levels in the first six months of 2012 continue to average higher than in the last six months of 2011
- 39 percent of men and 31 percent of women feel the economy is leaving them behind
- 14 percent of men vs. 10 percent of women are actively seeking a new job
- Women feel more secure in their employment (78 percent vs. 73 percent)
- Men are more concerned about losing their job (21 percent vs. 17 percent)