Bouncing back from a tepid December jobs report, the start of 2014 begins on a much more positive note adding 113,000 jobs to the economy in January. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised December’s job numbers upward from 74,000 nonfarm jobs to 113,000. The unemployment rate declined slightly to 6.6%, its lowest level in five years.
The winter weather continues to impact the economy as many workers were unable to report to jobs, and businesses were closed. Bad weather affects the payroll count if employees didn’t receive compensation for the entire pay period that included the 12th of the month.
The construction and manufacturing sectors added 48,000 and 21,000 jobs respectively in January. The mining industry added 7,200 jobs. For the first time since 2003, the healthcare industry cut 400 jobs – this sector has delivered one of the strongest job growth even throughout the recession. Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in January, gaining 36,000 jobs. Temporary help services added 8,100 jobs in January.
Winter Weather Freezes Manufacturing Orders
U.S. manufacturers were impacted by the cold and snow last month, with orders from customers declining sharply after its four-year high in December. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) index was 51.3 percent, declining from 56.6 percent in December and marking its lowest level in eight months. The drop can be largely attributed to the largest one-month reversal in new orders since December 1980, with the new-orders index plunging 13.2 points to 51.2 percent.
In addition, the ISM employment gauge, a signal of hiring intentions, fell 3.5 points to 52.3 percent. However, any reading over 50 indicates more manufacturers are expanding as opposed to contracting.
2014 May Be Breakout Year for Hiring
Recent improvements in job gains and stock market highs are indicative of a strengthening U.S. economy, which had led many economists to project job growth to increase throughout 2014. Predictions the U.S. economic growth could accelerate to 2.8 percent in 2014 from 1.9 percent in 2013 were made at the 2014 World Economic Forum held recently. Industries such as energy, healthcare, technology and manufacturing are expected to post solid increases in job opportunities, and thus are helping to drive economic growth.
Randstad recently released its own projections for hiring in several hot sectors, based on feedback from its thousands of recruiters and market trend analysis, such as:
Technology Hot Jobs:
-Mobile Application Developer
-Big Data and Cloud Computing Professionals
-Web Developer (especially around social media)
Manufacturing & Logistics Hot Jobs:
Office & Administration Hot Jobs:
-Customer Service Representative
Healthcare Hot Jobs:
-Physicians: Hospitalist, Primary Care Physician, Emergency Medicine Physician
-Nursing & Allied Professionals: Registered Nurse, Pharmacist, Medical Assistant
Finance & Accounting Hot Jobs:
-Manager Level Accountant
-Internal Auditors/Public Accountant
Check out the full list of 2014 hot jobs here.
Employee Confidence Levels Gaining Momentum
The most recent Randstad U.S. Employee Confidence Index finds a continued positive outlook among U.S. workers this month. The Index, which measures sentiment around employers, job prospects and the economy, reached 56.7 points in January – a five-month high since August of 2013. Nearly one-third of workers say they are positive about economic outlook, a significant uptick from the 20 percent reading during the October government shutdown.
Similar improvements were seen in the Consumer Confidence Index released by the Conference Board, which increased again in January to 80.7, up from 77.5 in December. Consumers’ assessment of current business conditions and the job market are more favorable than previous months, while expectations for the economy and their earnings in the future were also positive.
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