Government job creation ticks up further, while private-sector growth dips slightly
PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index held steady in August at +28, tying the six-year high reached in July. This is up from +22 in August a year ago. The index has been fairly flat since May, when it reached +27, after trending up in the first few months of 2014.
Gallup's Job Creation Index is a measure of net hiring in the U.S. as reported by a nationally representative sample of full- and part-time workers. In August, 41% of workers said their employer is hiring and expanding the size of its workforce, while 13% said their employer is letting workers go and reducing the size of its workforce, resulting in the +28 net hiring score.
This is only the second month since 2008 -- the first being last month -- that slightly more workers reported their employer is hiring rather than maintaining the status quo.
Government Workers' Reported Net Hiring Continues to Rise
Net hiring increased in August among government workers, rising to +23, up from +17 in July. By contrast, it stood at +29 among nongovernment workers, similar to the +30 among this group in July. The reason the overall index did not move is that government employees account for 15% of the workforce in Gallup's data, whereas 84% report not working for the government.
The resulting six-point gap in reported net hiring between government and nongovernment workers last month is the smallest Gallup has recorded since January 2010, largely driven by the steady gain in net hiring reports among government workers seen since early 2013.
Reports of hiring have increased at all levels of government -- federal, state, and local -- since descending into deeply negative territory between 2009 and 2011. However, reports of hiring have rebounded more among state and local workers than among federal workers. In recent months, job creation reports have increased sharply among state workers whose net hiring score is now +33, up 19 points from +14 in May. Over the same period, net hiring gained six points among federal workers, to +7, and rose five points among local workers, to +22.
Overall job creation in the U.S. was steady in August, at the highest level seen in the six-plus years of Gallup tracking it. Unchanging job creation is good news in the sense that the recent gains are holding. However, this steadiness could be a troubling sign if the lack of improvement continues, indicative of persistent weakness in the economy. This is particularly true for private-sector job creation that has been fairly flat over the past two years, while government job creation has consistently edged higher. This pattern of flat private-sector job creation coupled with rising government employment would seem to be unsustainable; at some point, private-sector job creation will need to show renewed strength to provide the tax base needed to pay for new public-sector jobs.
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 in the following charts:
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 1-31, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 17,188 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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 of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone 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 to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
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.