July 9, 2012

Staffing & Employment News: The Muddle Through

Staffing & Employment News

The Muddle Through

Jobless claims hit the lowest levels in six weeks at the end of June, and ADP projected private payroll growth at 176,000 for the month. The staffing industry led employment growth by adding more than 25,000 jobs, an increase of 10.7% more jobs than a year ago. The Monster Employment Index jumped 6 points to 153 in June reflecting a strong uptick in online recruiting. Nonetheless the BLS reported only a modest 80,000 net gain in jobs, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 8.2 percent.

The BLS report shows positive signs: gains in manufacturing employment and production hours, and a rise in aggregate earnings. Hiring demand is strong in transportation & warehousing, pointing to strength in the supply chain and retail trade. There is some strength in the goods-producing sector, which added 13,000 in June. Professional and business services added 47,000 jobs during the month. The health care, wholesale trade, manufacturing, construction, and mining sectors all increased by various amounts.

“Businesses continue to be very cautious about hiring in the current uncertain economic environment,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. Employers remain hesitant “due to uncertainty about the current strength of the economy and future economic conditions, including impending tax increases and spending cuts expected to take effect in January 2013. In times like these, businesses are being much more strategic in sourcing additional talent.”

In May, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. edged up 0.3% to 95.8. “Economic data in general reflect a U.S. economy that is growing modestly, neither losing nor gaining momentum,” says Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board. “The result is more of a muddle through.” However, the Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence, which had improved in the first quarter of this year, decreased in the second quarter.

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