According to the latest employment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS), the economy created 192,000 jobs in March 2014 with the unemployment rate staying flat at 6.7 percent. Most new positions were in lower-paying areas such as leisure and hospitality, support activities in healthcare, and retail. Also, the construction industry added 19,000 employees while the manufacturing sector lost 1,000 jobs.
The Wage Trend Indicator TM (WTI) released by Bloomberg BNA shows that workers in private industry will see higher wage increases this year. Year-over-year growth is expected to be 2.1 percent in the later part of 2014.
“All labor market indicators are giving green lights right now, although employment growth has been fairly weak.” ~Kathryn Kobe, Consultant with Bloomberg BNA
Strong Q1 for Small Business
Small Business Optimism
According to the SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard survey for March 2014, 87 percent of small businesses expect their first quarter results to be the same as or better than last year.
Another study conducted by Cargo and Toluna concurred, saying that small business optimism jumped to 71 percent from 65 percent in 2013, and is anticipated to be at 77 percent in 2014.
Union in Vermont Trying to Reduce State’s Use of Tempo Workers
A union that represents state employees says that the government is relying too heavily on temporary workers, and has proposed legislations to turn many temps into full-time government employees.
In 2013, Vermont spent $15 million on wages for temporary workers. According to Vermont’s Department of Human Resources, 60 percent of the temps used in 2013 were seasonal workers, and another 25 percent were for workplace emergencies, including family or medical leave.
Temp workers do not count as state employees, and as such do not get paid sick days or other benefits. The Vermont State Employees Association says that an increased dependency on temps undercuts workers’ rights and deteriorates the quality of services being delivered by government agencies. The union is pushing for legislation that would require offering full-time government employment to temps who work in excess of 1,040 hours per year, or an average of 20 hours per week.
Q2 Employment Expected to Improve
Bloomberg BNA’s second quarter employment outlook survey shows that job opportunities are expected to improve in the second quarter of 2014 as layoffs and workforce reductions drop. Among the 165 businesses surveyed, 33 percent anticipate hiring additional technical/professional employees and 25 percent expect to hire additional production/service workers. Meanwhile, layoff incidence has plummeted to its lowest level in six years.
Technical and professional job vacancies pose the largest challenge for employers, with 48 percent of responding HR professionals reporting difficulties in filling these vacancies in January and February of this year.