Click here to see the archive of these reports

Mobile / Smartphone version of this Report

Sign-up to receive this Employment Report every month in your inbox

U.S. Employment Situation (October 2015)
published by Bruce Steinberg | November 6, 2015

Home of the first and only U.S. employment report podcasts



When is it coming? part trois


For the previous two months in this space we discussed the next recession. Last month we concluded by mentioning that one of our editorial review board member mentioned "'the when [the next recession will occur] is not as important as to the why.' We will hold that discussion for another time." Three hypotheses -- and the first two don't count -- what we are going to discuss this month.


Just as the basis of the current recovery / expansion cycle can be found the past recession, the genesis of the next recession may be found in the current expansion. There are two basic types of recessions. One is driven by internal weakness or fundamental internal changes and the other is the opposite -- driven by outside forces not fundamentally related to the structure or capacity of the economy.
The immediate previous 2007-2009 recession / financial crisis is an example of the former. In the early 2000s, baby boomers started saving for retirement so housing demand waned and was off considerably. Housing sales, including speculative purchases, peaked in early 2005. But the economy did not change gears because residential construction ignored the sales declines and continued to build new homes.  By 2007, two new homes were being built for every new household formed. The mortgage industry created and tried new products ('liar or scary loans' and zero-down mortgages) to entice buyers and shore up the housing market. But the buyers simply weren't there and the market finally collapsed when the inventory of unsold homes became unsustainable. [FYI, we saw this coming back in 2005. Click here to see our Financial Times Letter to the Editor published on August 11, 2005 -- ed.] Eventually these practices (supported by public policy, but we digress) put the entire financial sector at risk and the pain trickled down into the rest of the economy. The recovery required major restructuring of the financial sector and a shift in the economy away from its dependence on construction activity. Let's call this type of recession endogenous.


The other type of recession is the result from some outside force but not directly related to the internal structure or capacities of the economy. The technical term for this version is an exogenous recession. The economy gets sucker punched to the gut and the wind knocked out of it, pulls itself back up through minor adjustments, and then continues on along the same path as before. The 1973 Oil Shock recession has, literally, become the textbook example of an exogenous recession. Should the current slowdown in China, which we mentioned last month in this space, lead to a recession here, it would fit this category.

Since an endogenous recession is caused by internal weaknesses or fundamental internal shifts, the engines that drive the recovery will be different from those going into the recession. Think of an endogenous recession as a car changing gears.  Until the new gearing is set, the car slows down depending only on momentum.   


Exogenous recessions are, by definition, less predictable.  After all, it’s called a “sucker punch” because the victim never sees it coming. But, on the other hand, an exogenous recession does not require significant internal restructuring.  A business can often just hunker down and wait for its current markets to recover from an exogenous recession.  However you may need to go back to the drawing board to prepare for a recovery that follows an endogenous recession. 

Today, there are signs of both types of recessions in the offing, but we tend to see more exogenous than endogenous factors developing. So whether it will be an exogenous recession your business should be able weather and wait out or an endogenous one that requires serious reassessment of your market positions, client bases, and service offerings, you should be prepared for both.



Strategic Planning Tools ...

Our Temporary Help Services Interactive Data Book tool will enable to view the local (down to the county level) temporary help services trends as well as benchmark your local staffing operation  to discover exactly where you are positioned in the market and if your offices are performing up to the local market.

Then use our Employment Tracking Tool that is designed to assist you in identifying and evaluating new sectors and markets. It examines the overall employment trends by industry in the given market to help determine possibly under-serviced industries to target marketing efforts (as well as what industries to avoid). By doing this, it shows what industries are growing and therefore are in expansion mode making them eager for a wide variety of products and services and likely in need of additional staff.

See further descriptions of these two strategic planning tools and links to the demos

What will 2022 look like for staffing services?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published 10-year employment projections. These projections are based upon a plethora of criteria including how changes in population demographics will affect the demand for specific goods and services, the types of jobs, and levels of education for workers to fill those jobs.  Our report highlights some of the changes in the direction that both jobs (occupations) and well as employment changes by industry and sector that may be of special interest to staffing industry executives planning for the near-term future.


You may be surprised to learn that it appears that light industrial will be a growing sector for staffing services encompassing growing portion of staffing services jobs by the year 2022; office and administrative support jobs, although they will remain a significant part of staffing services jobs, will decline slightly as its portion of the overall mix.


Our report on the expected employment projections to the year 2022, which is only seven years away, as they relate to staffing services to assist you in planning for the future. Given the highly analytical nature of our readers and followers, this brief, eight-page report is light on words but heavy on tables and charts. And because we know you are a busy executive, you don't even have to go to the additional step of requesting this gratis and valuable report from us. Just directly download it from here.


Looking for more? Check out our podcasts!

Podcasts of the current employment situation will be available by 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, May 8. The video podcast, which you can start and stop to study the tables and graphs as well as replay individual sections, includes additional data and information.  Watch the video version here or just listen to the audio version here (no special hardware or software required), which also can be downloaded to an iPod or any smartphone.

The "ultimate consultant's consultant."

"Bruce is an invaluable resource to me in working through the strategic planning process with my clients in the staffing industry. Bruce consults with me on each engagement and customizes his deliverables accordingly, exceeding my expectations each time. He expediently gathers and compiles the data I need and delivers it in user-friendly reports which make the analysis portion of my job easy. Because with Bruce's assistance I can make strategy recommendations with confidence and accuracy, my clients benefit greatly in turn. He is the ultimate "consultant's consultant." -- Amy Bingham, Bingham Consulting Professionals View more Testimonials


October 2015 Employment Report

Quick recap


There's no getting around saying this -- the October employment situation was solid and strong. Overall nonfarm jobs were up 271,000, which was an increase just shy of the previous two months combined; September gained only 137,000 jobs and August grew 152,000.


On the other side of the monthly employment situation, the unemployment rate incrementally declined to 5.0 percent; a year ago it was 5.7 percent. The increase in the number of employed persons outnumbered the growth of the labor force at the same time the number of unemployed persons declined; for more detail, see the Household Survey section at the bottom of this box.


Last month, we said the following about the September employment data: "This employment situation is likely not what the Federal Reserve Board has been looking for as it tries to find some supporting domestic data to pull the trigger to up interest rates."


Cannot say that about the October employment situation ... although the advanced estimate of Q3 2015 GDP was relatively weak, we believe that the October employment data is strong enough for the Fed to start to raise interest rates before the end of the year.


Jobs Report


Total private-sector jobs grew by 268,000 in October that was a vast improvement from the 149,000 increase in September as well as August's increase of 125,000.


The private Goods-producing sector increased 27,000 that was a nice change of direction from the decline of 10,000 jobs in September as well as the 21,000 decline in August. However, the improvement in this sector was not uniform.

  • Manufacturing jobs were flat with Durable goods contracting by 3,000 jobs and Nondurable goods increasing by 3,000.

  • The Construction sector managed to build on its recent gains with an increase of 31,000 jobs in October after adding 12,000 in September and 8,000 in August.

  • And although Mining and logging continued sink, it may be approaching a bottom with a loss of only 4,000 in October after declines of 13,000 in September and 10,000 in August.

The private Service-providing sector improved nicely. In October, it grew by 241,000 jobs, which was better than the 159,000 increase in September as well as the 146,000 gain in August. A year ago, in October 2014, Services grew by 184,000.

  • The pace of new hiring in the Retail trade sector apparently exploded with a gain of 43,800 jobs in October after adding only 5,800 in September (revised). BTW, September was initially reported last month as an increase of 23,700 jobs; we expect revisions, but this is unusually large. Did some statistician find a dropped decimal point on the floor?

  • Activity in the Wholesale trade sector picked up with a gain of 9,700 in October that was a nice improvement from essentially a flat performance in September that experienced only a 300 job gain.

  • The Transportation and warehousing sector shifted into reverse with a decline of 2,100 jobs in October after adding 4,900 in September.

  • Financial activities employers was able to improve from its zero job growth in September (or zero job decline, depending upon one's point of view) by adding 5,000 jobs in October.

  • The Professional and business services sector grew new hires with 78,000 more jobs in October after adding 33,000 in September. Computer systems design and related services added power to their hiring plans with 9,900 more jobs in October after adding 5,600 in September. Management and technical consulting services increased 7,000 jobs in October that more than made up for the 4,600 decline in September. Architectural and engineering services was up 8,300 jobs in October after a rather lackluster gain of only 600 jobs in September.

  • The Education and health services sector added a total of 57,000 jobs in October with the sector's highly seasonal Educational services sub-sector turning in a rather flat report card with an increase of only 200 jobs. Home health care services was up by 8,100 in October, which was considerably healthier than the 3,000 in added in September.

  • The party continued, but may be starting to wind down, in the Leisure and hospitality sector that added 41,000 jobs in October after adding 51,000 in September.

The total number of Government jobs was up by a total of 3,000 in October following a decline of 12,000 in September (revised). BTW, September was initially reported as an increase of 24,000 -- perhaps some bureaucrats had not gotten around to filling in some paperwork on time. Although the federal government shrank by 2,000 jobs and Local government was flat, State government added 5,000.


Temporary Help Services Roundup


Temporary help services sector grew and at a nice clip. September's 2,927,700 temporary help services jobs were a result of an increase of 24,500 jobs, which was a 0.8 percent increase from September and up 4.1 percent from October 2014.


Incidentally, September's increase of 2,700 was initially reported in the previous jobs report as up 4,600 jobs. Although previous data were revised lower, the revisions were not too great so October's reported growth was indeed a solid grain and not just because of earlier revisions.


And temporary help service's market share -- that is its portion of all jobs -- jumped to 2.05 percent in October, which was a 0.0133 percentage point gain from September. That's a relatively large move for this metric.


For a chart of temporary help's growth from January 1991 to October 2015 and comparing its trend to total employment, click here.


(if the chart is unclear, click on it  to open in a browser window)


Click on chart to open in a new browser window.

Household Survey


Here are some specifics regarding October's 0.1 percent decline in the unemployment rate to 5.0 percent.


There were 320,000 more employed persons in October and 7,000 fewer unemployed persons as the size of the labor force grew by 313,000, so the unemployment rate incrementally declined to 5.0 percent. In addition, the number of people not in the labor force declined by 97,000.


The employment-to-population ratio moved up to 59.3 percent in October from September's 59.2 percent and is up from 59.0 percent a year earlier in October 2014. The labor force participation rate was unchanged in October at 62.4 percent. The number of discouraged workers continued to trend downward in October with 665,000 and that was down from 770,000 in October 2014.


BTW, we maintain an updated table of many major employment as well as other economic indicators here or here for the mobile version.


Copyright © 2015 Bruce Steinberg. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy 

+1 828.278.3672



+1 828.355.4284

(cell & text)

Permission is granted to forward this webpage with no changes and the contact and copyright information intact and unchanged.