PRINCETON, NJ -- Job market conditions in the U.S. remain unchanged in December, with Gallup's Job Creation Index continuing at +14 for the third month in a row. While job creation has not improved during recent months, the jobs situation has not deteriorated as it typically does at this time of year. It instead remains near the high point for the year and is significantly better than the +10 of one year ago. The Job Creation Index average for 2011 is +13, about twice the 2010 average of +7.
Hiring and Firing Also Unchanged
The Job Creation Index of +14 is based on 32% of workers nationwide saying their employer is hiring workers and expanding its workforce and 18% saying their employer is letting workers go and reducing its workforce -- the same as November. Hiring was at 29% and firing at 19% in December 2010.
Job Market Conditions Essentially Flat in all Regions
Job market conditions remain best in the Midwest with a Job Creation Index of +17 and nearly as good in the South, at +15. The Index is at +12 in the East and +11 in the West.
The largest year-over-year improvement has been in the West with the Index increasing by six points followed by a five-point increase in the East and a four-point increase in the South. The Midwest remains at its same relatively high level of one year ago.
The lack of change in Gallup's Job Creation Index in December provides some mildly good news about U.S. job market conditions. The Index is not seasonally adjusted and the job situation usually deteriorates at this time of year, meaning this lack of change is a mild positive. The same is true for the fact that the Index closed out 2011 near its high for the year.
The improvement in the West is a positive since the West has frequently trailed the other regions -- and now essentially matches the East. While job conditions in both the East and West continue to lag other regions, the slight improvement this December compared with this time in 2010 may indicate that housing market difficulties in the West and the struggles of financial institutions in the East are moderating.
Overall, the level of Gallup's Job Creation Index suggests a modestly improving job environment in December, but not one strong enough to produce substantial job growth. In turn, this implies the government will provide a relatively stable unemployment report on Friday.
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:
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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 August are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with 14,649 employees conducted Dec. 1-29, 2011. For this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point. Regional results for November 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 daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. 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, cell-phone-only status, cell-phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 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 https://www.gallup.com/.