PRINCETON, NJ -- U.S. job market conditions in March reached their best level since August 2008, with Gallup's Job Creation Index now at +18, up from +14 in February. This four-percentage-point increase is the largest one-month jump in the index that Gallup has recorded since instituting the measure in 2008.
Reported Hiring Is Best Since September 2008
The March Job Creation Index reflects 35% of U.S. adult workers saying their employers are hiring and expanding the size of their workforces, and 17% saying their employers are letting workers go and reducing the size of the workforces. While the percentage letting go matches what Gallup found in January, the percentage hiring is at a 42-month high, last seen in September 2008.
The March results are based on Gallup telephone interviews conducted throughout the month with a nationwide random sample of nearly 18,000 employed Americans. The index -- not seasonally adjusted -- provides an ongoing summary of U.S. workplace hiring conditions as reported by employees.
Midwest Continues to Lead in Net New Hiring
All four regions of the country in March posted their best Job Creation Index scores since at least the fall of 2008, with each showing gains in just the past month. At +21, the Midwest continues to have the most positive jobs picture, based on relatively strong hiring (+36) coupled with relatively low layoffs or firing (-15).
The South does not trail by much, with a +19 overall index score. The East and West lag behind at +16 and +15, respectively, mainly because of lower hiring.
Of the four major regions, the Midwest has been the consistent leader in net hiring during the recent period of U.S. economic recovery since the spring of 2011, with the South not far behind. By contrast, throughout the U.S. recession in 2008 and the first half of 2009, the South had been the sole leader in net hiring.
U.S. workers in March reported an increase in hiring and a decrease in firing/layoffs at their workplaces. This mirrors the improvement seen in Gallup's separate unemployment measure in March. Both job creation and unemployment had deteriorated in February, and both are now slightly better than where they stood in January.
Job creation improved in every region in March, pushing all four to better than three-year highs. However, the relative positioning of the regions has been steady since mid-2011, with hiring strongest in the Midwest, followed by the South, and then the East and West.
Whether the relatively steep improvement in net hiring in March can be sustained in April is unclear, because Gallup weekly averages throughout March show hiring stronger in the first half of the month than in the second. Gallup's next weekly average, available Tuesday, April 10, will offer an initial indication of whether the pace of improvement continues to slow or is picking back up.
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 March are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with 17,892 employees conducted March 1-31, 2012. For this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point. Regional results for March are based on interviews totaling more than 3,600 in each region. For each total regional sample, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 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 by 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 2011 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.
The questions reported here were asked of a random half-sample of respondents for 31 nights on the Gallup Daily tracking survey.
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.