Staffing & Employment News

from Redfish Technology

How strong is the recovery?


+ Online jobs advertised grew in February, January and December, according to the Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL). The Supply/Demand rate stands at 2.9 unemployed for every vacancy. “In a positive sign the Supply/Demand rate dipped below the 3.0 level for the first time since November 2008,” said June Shelp, Vice President at The Conference Board. “This reflects both significant gains in labor demand as well as drops in unemployment levels since the end of the recession. Labor demand is up 227,000 over the past three months, continuing to narrow the gap between the unemployed and available jobs. With the monthly level of job demand around 4.4 million, labor demand is back in line with the pre-recession series high in 2007.”

+ The U.S. Economy added 227,000 jobs in February. This is the third consecutive month of gains over 200,000. December and January numbers were also revised upwards.

+ The unemployment rate remains at 8.3%. This may reflect the re-joining of the workforce by people who had stopped looking. Jobless claims are near a four-year low, so this is a strong indicator of improvement in the labor market.

– The employment rate has declined to 63.9% as of February this year; as a comparison that rate peaked in 2000 at 67.3%. This is due to discouraged workers leaving the workforce, job seekers who haven’t found employment, and the retirement of the aging workforce.

+ GDP grew at a 3% annual rate in Q4 of 2011, marking the largest growth since Q2 of 2010. Income earned from employment, personal income and disposable personal income all rose, albeit very slowly, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

+ Consumer confidence continues to rise; the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index registered the highest in the first week of March since April of 2008. February’s rate of auto sales was the fastest in four years.

+ More businesses plan to hire additional workers this year, including in the strengthening manufacturing sector. The Fed’s Business Outlook Survey showed that manufacturing firms polled reflect optimism about future growth. The broad indicators remained positive, and firms report a pickup in new orders and shipments.

+ The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released findings from its Q4 Small Business Outlook Survey. Despite economic uncertainty, regulations, and health care law, respondents indicated that “the outlook for their local economy and attitudes about their own business are improving.”

> The definition of recovery varies, to some it is 5% unemployment. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has created a Jobs Calculator to figure the net employment change needed to achieve a target unemployment rate after a specified number of months. The user can interactively adjust the target unemployment rate, the number of months, and the assumed labor force growth. It makes it feel so easy, add inputs, click, and see what it will take to get us to a 5% unemployment rate.


Related reading:

The Employment Situation

Online Labor Demand Rises in February

Q4 Small Business Outlook Survey findings released

Altanta Fed’s Jobs Calculator