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U.S. Employment Situation (July 2014)
published by Bruce Steinberg | August 1, 2014

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



The issue of growing part-time employment rears its head -- again.


We've seen it before. When an administration starts to take credit for an improving employment situation and job growth, others start talking about the poor quality of those new jobs and the employment status of the workforce.


A few weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal (July 14, 2014) published an opinion piece from none other than Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. New & World Report. Entitled "The Full-Time Scandal of Part-Time America," he drew readers in by starting off with one fact -- 268,000 jobs were created in June and, for want of a better term, an 'almost fact' -- "Full-time jobs last month plunged by 523,000 ... . What has increased are part-time jobs. They soared by about 800,000 ... ."


The reason we call that second statement an "almost fact" is that by referring to the part-time numbers as "jobs" and not the more correct  term of "employment," he created a direct connection between his two statements where, technically speaking, a connection should not be made. The 268,000 new job number came from the establishment survey while the decline of 523,000 full-timers came from the household survey. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "The numerous and methodological difference between the household and establishment surveys result in important distinctions ... ." Mr. Zuckerman clearly did not make any distinctions in his piece. Any labor market observer worth his or her salt knows this. No soup for you! (What? You're surprised we are fans of Seinfeld?)


Granted, it may look like we are being overly picky, so let's look at the bigger picture and trend occurring with full-time and part-time employment.


In both charts, the top edge of the bars is total employment that has been inching upward since the end of the recession. But is part-time employment pushing that edge up as Mr. Zuckerman implies? Actually, no.


The longer term trend (one or two months do not make a trend) is that full-time employment is driving overall employment growth. The top chart shows that the difference between full and part-time employment has been fairly consistently rising since after the recession, with a few hiccups along the way. The bottom chart slices the same data a different way and again -- with several exceptions along the way -- the part-timers' portion of total employment has been declining since the recession ended. True, June showed a rise in part-time and a drop in full-time, but that type of movement is not really that unusual on an isolated basis.


As the next election cycle heats up, we will be hearing more about this issue. And because part-timers are often referred to as temporary workers, this increased scrutiny could cause headaches for the image of the staffing industry, specifically, temporary help services, as it has in the past.


And least you think that we are picking on just two little items in Mr. Zuckerman's piece, he also mentioned  that "Last month [June 2014] involuntary part-timer swelled to 7.5 million, compared to 4.4 million in 2007." Well, the recession didn't start until December 2007, so the low number of part-timers are pretty much from a peak in the economic cycle so naturally part-time employment would be at a low level. Instead of going back seven years to find a datum point to support his misguided opinion, he failed to mention that only a year ago, in June 2013, there were 8.2 million involuntary part-timers. Still, no soup for you Mr. Zuckerman!



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 eight 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, Thursday, July 3rd. 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


July 2014 Employment Report

Quick recap


The July jobs and employment report can be summed up in one word and that word would be "disappointing."


The unemployment rate incrementally increased, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics characterized as  "little changed," to 6.2 percent in July; it was 6.1 percent in June and 7.3 percent a year ago in July 2013. For more detail, see the "Household Survey" section at the bottom of this column.


On the other side of the monthly employment situation, the total number of jobs was up 209,000 in most sectors, which clearly is a disappointment from the previous month's increase of 298,000. The July 2014 number was the weakest since March when the economy only added 203,000 jobs but still better than a year ago in July 2013 when 149,000 jobs were added.


Jobs Report


Total private-sector jobs grew by only 198,000 in July, was a fairly hard deceleration from June's growth of 270,000 and even May's addition of 228,000. However, a year earlier in July 2013, the private-sector only grew by 170,000.


At least the private Goods-producing sector put in a pretty good performance with growth of 58,000 jobs in July compared to growth of 38,000 in June and 26,000 in May.

  • The pace of hammering together more jobs in the Construction sector picked up with growth of 22,000 new jobs in July compared to an increase of 10,000 in the previous month.

  • Manufacturers also added more new jobs in July (up 28,000) than in June (up 23,000). Job growth remained durable in Durable goods that added 30,000 in July, which was better than the 21,000 added in June as well as in May. Nondurable goods continued to drift with a decline of 2,000 in July after adding 2,000 in June and declining by 6,000 in May.

  • Mining and logging brought 8,000 more jobs up into the economy in July, with the Support activities for mining portion of the mining sub-sector responsible for a majority of those new jobs; in June, Mining and logging added 5,000.

The private Service-providing sector really hit the brakes slowing to only 140,000 more jobs in July after adding 232,000 in June; in July 2013 it added 175,000.

  • The Retail trade sector rang up 26,700 more jobs in July that was not as good than the 41,200 it added in June as well as being considerably weaker than the 48,400 it added in July 2013.

  • The pace at Wholesale trade slowed as well with growth of only 2,700 in July after adding 14,200 in June and also much weaker than the 11,700 it added in July 2013.

  • The Transportation and warehousing sector also added fewer jobs in July (up 7,900) than in June (up 14,800), but improved over the July 2013 decline of 8,200 jobs.

  • Financial activities employers still had some interest to add to its payrolls with 7,000 more jobs in July after adding 17,000 the previous month; in July 2013, they added 16,000.

  • The Professional and business services sector's growth slowed to only 47,000 new jobs in July after adding 73,000 in June; in July 2013, it was up 51,000.. Computer systems design and related services added 3,900 jobs in July that was a little better than the 2,700 added by Management and technical consulting services; Architectural and engineering services, which sits about in the middle of those two in terms of the total number of jobs, added 8,800 jobs.

  • The Education and health services sector added a total of 17,000 jobs in July with the sector's highly seasonal Educational services sub-sector declining by 8,000. Therefore, growth in the Health care and social assistance portion was 25,400 in July, which was off from the 32,700 jobs it grew by in June but a big improvement from July 2013 when it added only 11,700 jobs. Home health care services was up by 5,200 in July, which was only slight off June's growth of 5,800.

  • New hiring in the Leisure and hospitality sector slightly tapered off with 21,000 more jobs in July after adding 23,000 in June, which was the same amount it added in July 2013.

The total number of Government jobs was up by 11,000. The federal government neither added nor removed any jobs so it was zero [make your own joke -- ed.]; State government was down by 1,000; and Local government increased by 12,000.


Temporary Help Services Roundup


Although Temporary Help Services continued to grow and reach new highs, the rate of growth continued to slow.


In July, Temporary help services was up 8,500 to 2,880,900, which was a 0.3 percent month-over-month increase and year-over-year growth of 8.1 percent.


In June, the job number was up 13,900, or 0.5 percent sequentially and up 8.2 percent year-on-year; in May, temporary help added 14,500 jobs, which was also 0.5 percent sequential growth and up 8.5 percent year-on-year.


Temporary help service's market share -- that is its portion of all jobs -- continued to inch up and reached an all-time high of 2.073 percent in July compared to 2.070 percent in June; it was 1.953 percent in July 2013. To see a chart of Temporary help's growth from January 1991 to July 2014 and comparing the 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


The July 6.2 percent unemployment rate was a 0.1 percent rise from June's 6.1 percent; it was 7.3 percent in July 2013.


That 6.2 percent unemployment rate was the result of a labor force that grew by 329,000 as the number of employed persons grew by 131,000 and the number of unemployed persons rose by 197,000. The number not in the labor force declined by 119,000.


The employment-to-population ratio was unchanged at  59.0 percent in July and up from 58.7 percent a year earlier. The labor force participation rate incrementally rose to 62.9 percent (was 62.8 percent in June), but it was lower than the 63.4 percent a year earlier. The number of discouraged workers continued to decline with only 741,000 of them compared to 988,000 a year earlier in July 2013.


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



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