WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Job market conditions in the U.S. remained relatively steady in December, with Gallup's Job Creation Index averaging +17 for the month, similar to the +18 measured in November and +19 in October.
The Job Creation Index in December reflects 34% 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 their workforces. Both components of the index have remained steady this year.
Reports of hiring were generally higher in 2012 than in 2011. The Job Creation Index averaged +18 in 2012, up significantly from the 2011 average of +13.
Private-Sector Job Creation Stalls in December
Nongovernment net hiring is unchanged from November, at +20, and remains the lowest monthly average since February. In March through June, the monthly average ranged between +23 and +25, but that range fell to between +20 and +23 in July through December.
Unlike private-sector workers, state and local government employees report that hiring in their workplaces has increased in recent months. The monthly index averages for state and local government grew from net negative in July to net positive in August, and they continued to increase in the second half of the year. The monthly Job Creation Index for state government workers is +11 for December, up from +8 recorded in November. Similarly, the monthly index average for local government workers is +10, up from +8.
Federal government net hiring remains negative at -7 for December, but grew more positive, on average, throughout the second half of 2012.
South Gains Edge in Net Hiring Over Other Regions
The South showed slightly higher net hiring than the other regions in December and outpaced the Midwest for the first time since April. In the South, net hiring increased by two percentage points to +20, while net hiring in the Midwest fell by four points to +17. Net hiring remained stable in the East and West, each at +16.
U.S. workers reported little change in net hiring at their workplaces in December, with overall net hiring registering at +17, similar to the +18 measured in November. Despite this stability in the overall Job Creation Index, nongovernment net hiring has stalled since July -- showing particular weakness in November and December. Private-sector hiring levels in the second half of 2012 may have been affected by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which will impose penalties on large employers -- those with 50 or more full-time employees -- that fail to provide an affordable health insurance option for their employees starting in 2014. Further, the uncertainty surrounding the presidential election and the "fiscal cliff" may have caused employers in the private sector to become more cautious in their hiring plans.
Now that the presidential election has passed and government leaders in Washington have, in part, avoided the fiscal cliff, it remains to be seen whether increased political and economic stability will boost private-sector hiring in 2013.
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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Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup Daily tracking survey Dec. 1-30, 2012, with a random sample of 15,429 adults, aged 18 and older, employed full or part time, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of employed adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.
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 cellphone 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. Cellphone 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 (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone 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.
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/.