Staffing Employment Trends – February 2012

Although the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) initially reported a negative reading for 2012, even going so far as calling for a recession, it is now looking as though that report may have been a bit premature. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3%.

The decline in the unemployment rate marks a 0.2% decline in January and new unemployment claims are continuing to go down. New unemployment claims have fallen or at a flat rate in every state this month, which is a very positive sign for overall economic growth. The 243,000 increase in jobs marked 16 months of growth in total employment and the number of job openings available is the highest in three years.

Private-sector employment grew by 257,000, with the largest employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. The professional and business services sector continued to grow, adding 70,000 jobs in January. Manufacturing and construction continued to grow as well, adding 50,000 and 21,000 jobs, respectively. Government employment was little changed over the month.

The Purchasing Manager (PM) Manufacturing Index reported a positive ranking, showing expansion in that sector. In fact, the PM Manufacturing Index is at its best level since 2005-2006. The non-manufacturing PM index also had an extremely good month.