More steady progress was made in the nation’s job recovery, with 162,000 jobs added in July, ratcheting down the unemployment rate to 7.4 percent. Although the rate of job creation is slower than economists would like to see, the employment market has fared relatively well given compounding factors such as, recent tax increases and government spending cuts. Over the prior year, nonfarm employment growth averaged 189,000 per month.
The biggest gains this month were seen in retail trade, financial activities and professional and business services. Retail trade added 47,000 jobs in July and has added 352,000 over the past 12 months. Financial activities employment increased by 15,000 this month, adding 120,000 over the year. Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in July, adding 36,000 jobs to the economy. Within the industry, job growth continued in management of companies and enterprises (+7,000) and in management and technical consulting services (+7,000).
Temporary Help Services Fastest Growing Industry Post-Recession
Temporary help services sector continues to contribute large gains to the overall employment situation, hitting an all-time high in June reaching 2,681,700 jobs. This represents an increase of 6.7 percent compared to June 2012. This month’s report showed further gains with 7,700 jobs added.
Since 2009, the U.S. has added more than 5.7 million jobs. According to new data from Economic Modeling Specialists (EMSI), 15 percent of those jobs were in the temporary help services industry making it the fastest-growing industry since the recession.
Consumer Confidence Dips Slightly, Worker Confidence Continues to Improve
U.S. consumer confidence levels dipped slightly in July as consumers were less optimistic about the outlook for the economy and the labor market, according to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. The report released this month indicated a decline in July from a five-year high, dropping to 80.3 as higher borrowing costs and gasoline prices tempered Americans’ outlook for the economy. However, a measure of their views of current conditions rose to a five-year high as employers stepped up hiring, and more Americans said they planned to buy homes, cars and appliances.
In line with the optimistic view of current conditions, the Randstad Employee Confidence Index (ECI) maintained pre-recession highs for the sixth consecutive month in July. The ECI hit a low of 43.1 in Q4 2008 and remained below 50 for most of the period spanning 2008 to 2011. However, it has since remained in the mid-50s for the past six months, consistent with levels seen before the recession. July’s index remained virtually unchanged at 56.3, while half (49 percent) of employees say they are confident in their ability to find a new job and more than three-in-five (62 percent) are confident in the future of their current employer. Three-in-ten (30 percent) of U.S. workers believe the economy is getting stronger.
Job Creation, Consumer Spending Helps Boost GDP
As the Conference Board Confidence Index revealed, Americans’ optimistic view of current conditions is contributing to their plans to continue spending. Job growth means more people are working, more cash is going to consumers, and more money is being spent. In fact, consumer spending rose 1.8 percent in the second quarter, a contributing factor to an increase in the nation’s GDP which grew at 1.7 percent annual rate in the same quarter.
Also contributing to the improved U.S. economy was a sharp increase in business investment, according to the Commerce Department. Business investment jumped 9 percent in 2Q, led by another double-digit percentage gain in home construction. The increases helped to offset a spike in imports, and a 1.5 percent drop in federal spending.
Choosing an Employer Differs for Men and Women
The one thing men and women agree on when it comes to choosing employment is the importance of salary and benefits. But that’s where the similarities end. When it comes to choosing an employer, differences exist between the genders as to how they define employer attractiveness, according to the latest Employer Branding Survey conducted by Randstad.
The survey found that attracting and retaining talent is not a one-stop shop, particularly with a diverse workforce and multiple generations sitting side-by-side. When it comes to attracting top female talent, employers may need to focus on flexibility, location and culture. For example, 44 percent of female respondents chose location and 37 percent chose workplace flexibility as an important employer attributes, compared to 35 percent and 26 percent of men respectively.
For men, opportunities to advance ranked highest at 42 percent, compared with 36 percent of women. Additionally, 36 percent of male respondents cited the financial health of a company as very important versus 28 percent of women.
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