The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April 2015, bring the unemployment rate down to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent in the prior month, its lowest mark since May 2008. Year-over-year, the unemployment rate is down by 0.8 percentage points.
Monthly Job Gains Over Past Year
Major gains came from professional and business services with 62,000 jobs added, and healthcare and construction with 45,000 jobs added each. Employment in mining fell by 15,000 jobs, mostly in support and oil and gas extraction.
Job Gains by Industry in 2015
Average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $24.87. The Payscale Index forecasts a year-over-year growth of 0.7 percent for the second quarter of 2015. In the first quarter of 2015, median weekly earnings of U.S. full-time wage and salary workers rose 1.5 percent year-over-year to $808. For workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the median was $1,227, while for workers with a high school diploma only the median was $669.
Data released by the American Staffing Association (ASA) reveals that U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 3.2 million temporary and contract workers per week in 2014, up 5.4 percent from 2013.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, average weekly staffing industry employment grew by 137,100 workers. Temporary and contract staffing sales were also higher in that period, up 7.9 percent compared to the prior year, totaling $30.54 billion. For the full year of 2014, sales were up 5.7 percent compared to the year before.
ASA says that while permanent employment is a top priority for many staffing employees, about one in five workers cite scheduling flexibility as a key reason for choosing temporary work. Over 90 percent of temporary workers believe that staffing work makes them more employable.
Top Occupation Areas for Staffing Workers
Looking at Middle Market Companies To Forecast U.S. Economic Growth
Middle market companies (MMC) are those businesses with annual revenues that range from $10 million up to $1 billion. In the United States, there are nearly 200,000 MMCs. Economists consider the activity of this segment to be a good predictor of economic growth, which is not surprising since MMCs account for one-third of the employment in the country.
A recent survey of America’s MMCs by the National Center for the Middle Market found that revenue growth in the segment has been strong at 7.4 percent over the last 12 months, but future growth is expected to slow, with a forecast of 5.3 percent in the next year.
Over the past years, MMCs have reported employment growth at a rate of 4.3 percent, while the expectation is that this growth will fall to 3.2 percent over the next year.
The survey asked respondents to list their greatest internal and external challenges for the near-term (3 months) and long-term (12 months). Internal challenges centered on staffing and the growth of business, while top external challenges were government regulations and competition.
Challenges Expected by MMCs
Source: National Center for the Middle Market
Average Hourly Freelance Worker Wages
A recent survey of 23,000 freelance workers around the world by Payoneer revealed that the average global hourly rate charged by freelancers is $21. Almost half of freelancers charge under $10 per hour, while 40 percent charge between $11 and $30, and 18% charge more than $30 per hour.
Average Hourly Rates for Freelancers
The survey found that, as expected, certain skill types demand significantly higher rates than others. Freelancers providing legal services charge an average of $31 per hour, while those working in sales and marketing charge $21 per hour, and those providing writing and translation services charge $17 per hour.
The average worldwide income satisfaction rate was low at 46 percent, which indicates that many freelancers would like to work more hours or charge higher rates. The highest level of income satisfaction was found in professionals in IT and programming, followed by those in the legal field. The lowest levels were found among those working in writing and translation, as well as those working the fewest hours per week.
Other key findings from the survey are that freelance professionals work an average of 36 hours per week, and more than 80 percent of those surveyed work one to three jobs at a time. Almost half of the freelancers find projects via online marketplaces, and the preferred social media channel to promote freelancing skills is Facebook.
“Staffing and recruiting firms are playing an extremely important role in helping millions of Americans in flexible work situations achieve their goal of bridging to permanent employment. The staffing industry hired 14.6 million people during all of 2014. Most transitioned quickly to permanent jobs as businesses increased the size of their talent pools. The average length of employment with a staffing firm was 11.3 weeks in 2014, down from 14.3 weeks in 2013.” ~Richard Wahlquist, President and CEO of ASA.