Economy

U.S. Job Creation Index Highest Since September 2008

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

Job conditions similar across all regions of the U.S.

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's Job Creation Index was at +15 in June. While this does not differ much from the +14 of May or the +13 of April, it is the highest since September 2008's +16.

Job Creation Index Nationwide, Monthly Averages, January 2008-June 2011

The Job Creation Index has increased steadily if marginally in 2011. This continues a pattern that began after the Index matched its low point of -5 in April 2009, and is consistent with the improvement in the overall U.S. job situation over the past couple of years.

Hiring Increases Modestly in 2011

The Job Creation Index score of +15 in June is based on 33% of workers nationwide saying their employers are hiring and 18% saying their employers are letting workers go. Between 18% and 19% of workers have said their employers are reducing staff size throughout the first half of 2011. However, there has been a slight increase in the percentage saying their companies are hiring employees and expanding their workforces, from 29% in January to 33% in June.

Hiring and Firing Nationwide, Monthly Averages, January 2008-June 2011

Job Market Conditions Are Similar Across the U.S.

Job market conditions are best in the Midwest at +17 and worst in the West at +12. Since June 2010, job creation has improved by 12 percentage points in the East -- the most of any region. The job market in the South has seen the smallest improvement -- up 1 point -- over the same period.

Map: U.S. Job Market Conditions, by Region, June 2011

Implications

Gallup's Job Creation Index, at +15 for June 2011, is much improved over June 2010's +8 and June 2009's -3 readings. One reason for this improvement, according to employee reports, is that the nation's employers are holding on to their workers; the percentage currently letting people go is just about where it was in June 2008. Additionally, the percentage reporting their employer is hiring has increased slightly during the first half of 2011.

However, companies are still not in a hurry to hire. The percentage saying their employers were hiring in June is down seven points from January 2008, when the recession was just getting underway. New jobs are being created at an anemic pace compared with what is needed to lower the U.S. unemployment and underemployment rates. These job creation trends are consistent with Gallup's recent unemployment report that shows the current job situation has seen little year-over-year improvement.

These job creation findings are also consistent with the recent trend in jobless claims, whose four-week average is currently 426,750. This is better than the year-ago numbers, but -- like the job creation trend -- is not enough of an improvement to support a decline in the unemployment rate. In this regard, the modest improvement in Gallup's Job Creation Index over recent months is also consistent with the consensus among economists that there will be essentially no change when the government reports the June unemployment rate on Friday.

Right now, Gallup's job data suggest that job market conditions are slightly more positive than the government's numbers show. Although economists declared the recession over two years ago, job growth has a long way to go, with the current Job Creation Index nowhere near the +26 seen just as the recession was beginning in January 2008.

Gallup.com reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in Gallup.com stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence and Job Creation, Consumer Spending
Weekly: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Read more about Gallup's economic measures.

View our economic release schedule.

Survey Methods

Survey Methods

For Gallup Daily tracking, Gallup interviews approximately 1,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, each day. The Gallup Job Creation Index results are based on a random sample of approximately 500 current full- and part-time employees each day.

National results for June are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with 17,149 employees conducted June 1-30, 2011. For this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point. Regional results for June are based on interviews totaling more than 3,000 in each region. For each total regional sample, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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