The Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) reports a mildly negative reading for 2012, calling for a moderate recession. However, nearly all other economic publications are calling for a moderate increase. Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) remained positive in their monthly staffing report webinar.

The unemployment rate for December 2011 continued to trend down at 8.5% as reported by SIA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The unemployment rate has gone down by 0.6% since August 2011. New unemployment claims continute to decrease, a good sign of economic recovery. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 200,000 jobs in December, up 1.26% from a year prior. In 2011, nonfarm payroll employment has risen by 1.6 million jobs. Additionally, private employment rose by 212,000 jobs, a 1.78% increase versus 2010. In 2011, private employment rose by 1.9 million jobs.

The purchasing manager index is showing moderate expansion in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. Transportation and warehouse industries rose sharply in December 2011. Additionally, seasonal hiring was strong. Retail trade, manufacturing and health care were also strong sectors in December, adding a good number of jobs. Construction remained steady in December, while government jobs trended down for the close of 2011.