by Donna Farrugia, CEO Nelson
Total employment rose by 257,000 in January. After incorporating revisions for November and December, monthly job gains averaged 336,000 over the past three months (147,000 higher than previously reported).
Temporary and contract employment is also on the rise as employers look to fill out their workforce with many types of workers. In the U.S., from January 2014 to January 2015, there was 6.7% growth in temporary/contract workers. Here at Nelson, temporary workers had many excellent work opportunities and chose to work an average of 36.7 hours a week.
For those candidates preferring to go directly into a full-time job, conditions were also strong. In January, the number of direct-hire placements at Nelson increased 104% over December thanks to the diligent work of specialized and highly skilled recruiters.
There was 2.6% GDP growth last quarter. Since it’s still trending up, the consensus is 3% GDP growth in 2015. If we get there, it will be the strongest growth we’ve seen since 2005.
In January job gains occurred in:
- Retail trade + 46,000 jobs
- Construction + 39,000 jobs
- Health care + 38,000 jobs
- Food services and drinking places +35,000
- Professional and technical services + 33,000 jobs
- Financial activities + 26,000 jobs
- Manufacturing + 22,000 jobs
The unemployment rate was 5.7% in January, which is approaching pre-recession levels. College unemployment was just 2.7%. The average workweek for employees was 34.6 hours in January and factory overtime edged down to 3.5 hours. Here at Nelson, contingent workforce hours increased 3.71% over December.
Across the nation, average hourly earnings increased by 12 cents to $24.75. At Nelson, we saw average wages increase 2.7% in this first month of the year.
While earnings are increasing across the board, the Economic Policy Institute recently reported that college-educated workers saw a fall in their real wages between 2013 and 2014. Given the demand for highly skilled workers, this may be a good time to evaluate compensation and benefit programs to ensure an effective recruiting program in this market.