According to the latest numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of temporary help services jobs rose by 14,700. In December 2014, the United States added 252,000 nonfarm jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent from the month before. The largest gains were in professional and business services with 52,000 jobs added, construction with 48,000 jobs added, food services and drinking establishments with 44,000 jobs added, health care with 34,000 jobs added, and manufacturing with 17,000 jobs added.
Over 2014, job growth averaged 246,000 per month, up from the average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013. The professional and business services sector was responsible for 24.8 percent or 732,000 of total jobs created, outpacing the next highest sector – trade, transportation and utilities – by 225,000 jobs. Within the professional and business services sector, the biggest increase was in temporary services, making up 29.5 percent of jobs created in the sector.
2014 Employment in Review
“The economy generated 252,000 new jobs in December, and the gains for November and October were revised up. These strong gains are likely to continue to boost consumer spending in 2014. The continued drop in the unemployment rate, to 5.6 percent in December, puts us within striking distance of the natural rate of 5.5 percent.” ~The Conference Board
Employment’s Up, but Paychecks Are Not
While the job figures reveal that the economy was trending upwards in 2014, wages actually declined in December 2014 compared to the previous month. Average hourly earnings fell by 5 cents to $24.57 in December, after gaining 6 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings rose by 1.7 percent.
CareerBuilder’s Annual Job Forecast for 2015 finds that 82 percent of employers surveyed plan to increase compensation for existing employees, while 64 percent plan to offer higher starting salaries for new employees.
“Eventually a healthier labor market should translate into decent wage growth. The question is, when will workers start seeing the decent economic news reflected in their paychecks?” ~Elise Gould, Senior Economist at The Economic Policy Institute
More Temp Jobs Expected in 2015
According to CareerBuilder’s job forecast for 2015, 46 percent of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2015, up from 42 percent the year before. Additionally, 56 percent of employers hiring temporary workers expect to transition some of these workers into full-time, permanent employees. The survey reveals that hiring for science, technology, engineering, and math occupations will be strong with 31 percent of hiring managers planning to create jobs in this area in 2015.
Top Areas for Hiring
Health Care Industry On the Rise
CareerBuilder’s recently released Health Care Forecast reveals that 35 percent of health care hiring managers plan to add full-time, permanent health care employees in 2015, and 80 percent plan to increase wages for current employees.
Nearly half of the health care employers surveyed (47 percent) plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2015. Almost half of employers say they are “likely” or “very likely” to rehire retirees in 2015.
Despite the plans to hire more workers, finding qualified candidates might be a challenge. Approximately 54 percent of health care employers believe that there is a significant gap between the skills they need and the skills that candidates have, and 46 percent have open positions for which they cannot find candidates.
Nearly half of the employers (48 percent) have job vacancies that stay open for 12 weeks or longer. Approximately two-thirds of employers plan to hire recent college graduates this year, and 47 percent plan to hire interns.
“With more people gaining access to medical benefits and an aging population who will need more medical attention in the coming years, health care organizations are gearing up now to accommodate these populations and provide the best quality care. In certain areas, however, demand for high quality candidates is higher than the available supply, forcing health care employers to rethink how they retain top employees along with attracting new, highly qualified workers.” ~Eric Gilpin, President of CareerBuilder Healthcare.
The Distance Between Rich and Poor at its Widest
The gap in employment rates between the country’s highest- and lowest-income families is at its widest level in ten years. Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families (earning less than $20,000) are at 21 percent. U.S. households with an income of over $150,000 annually have an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent.
“The people at the bottom are going to be continually squeezed, and I don’t see this ending anytime soon. If the economy were growing enough or unions were stronger, it would be possible for the less educated to do better and for the lower income to improve. But in our current world, where we are still adjusting to globalization, that is not very likely to happen.” ~Richard Freeman, Economist at Harvard University
“The job market continues to power forward. Businesses across all industries and sizes are adding to payrolls. At the current pace of job growth, the economy will be back to full employment by this time next year.” ~Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics