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U.S. Job Creation Strong, but Down Slightly at End of 2015

U.S. Job Creation Strong, but Down Slightly at End of 2015

Story Highlights

  • Job Creation Index registers +30 in December
  • Yearly average stands at +30, a new high
  • Nongovernment hiring falls modestly; government hiring up

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index ended 2015 at +30 for the month of December, down slightly from its monthly record high of +32 recorded for six consecutive months in 2015, from May to October.

U.S. Job Creation Index, Monthly Averages, January 2008-December 2015

For 2015 overall, the index averaged +30, besting 2014's +26 score as the metric's highest yearly average since Gallup began tracking it in 2008.

The index climbed from its nadir of -5 in early 2009 amid the worst economic recession in decades to a monthly high of +32 in May 2015. It remained at that level for the next five months, before dipping slightly to +30 in November and December.

Gallup's Job Creation Index is a measure of net hiring activity in the U.S. based on worker perceptions of what is happening at their place of employment. The December average is based on a nationally representative sample of more than 16,000 full- and part-time adult workers. December's +30 score is based on 42% of employees saying their employer is hiring workers and expanding the size of its workforce, and 12% saying their employer is letting workers go and reducing the size of its workforce. Forty-two percent reported no changes in staffing in their workplaces.

Hiring and Firing Nationwide, Monthly Averages, January 2008-December 2015

Nongovernment Hiring Slips, While Government Hiring Increases

Net hiring in the private sector, which employs the large majority of U.S. workers, was +31 in December, on par with the +32 in November but below the seven-year high of +34 recorded in October.

Government hiring, on the other hand, increased by two points from November to +27, tying the record high found in October 2015.

Job Creation Index for November and December 2015, by Subgroup

Net hiring generally was similar across regions in December compared with November. The exception is the East, where it fell three points from November.

Bottom Line

While Gallup's U.S. job creation metric fell slightly in December from the record high found each month from May through October, it ended 2015 on solid footing. Gallup has reported on other indicators showing that Americans increasingly see the state of the labor market as improving: the percentage of Americans who say now is a good time to find a quality job in 2015 was higher than any time before the financial crisis, and the Gallup Good Jobs rate -- the percentage of the population engaged in full-time payroll employment -- is near its highest level since 2010.

Still, the improving labor market has had only a limited effect on Americans' perceptions of the overall economy. Economic confidence slumped for much of 2015, after reaching a peak at the end of 2014.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted in 2015 with a random sample of 16,334 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 national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

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