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Economy

U.S. Job Creation Index Holds Steady at Post-Recession High

U.S. Job Creation Index Holds Steady at Post-Recession High

Story Highlights

  • Job Creation Index at +33 for fourth straight month
  • Government job creation at highest level in eight years

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. workers' reports of hiring activity at their places of employment in August held steady at a post-recession high for the fourth month in a row. Gallup's Job Creation Index, a measure that began in January 2008, now stands at +33, the same as in May, June and July.

2016-09-07_Aug_job_creation_chart1_(1)

The latest results, based on interviews conducted Aug. 1-31 with 17,894 full- and part-time U.S. workers, continue a pattern seen over the past 19 months, during which the index never dipped below +29.

Gallup asks a random sample of employed adults each day whether their employer is hiring new people and expanding the workforce, not changing the workforce, or letting people go and reducing the size of the workforce. In August, 44% of workers reported an increase and 11% a decrease, resulting in the Job Creation Index score of +33.

Since the index bottomed out at -5 in early 2009 in the midst of the nation's economic crash, it has taken a slow, bumpy path upward, with numerous minor downticks from month to month. However, every August reading since 2010 has shown improvement over the previous August. The near-negligible one-point improvement this August from last August's +32 is the smallest since the index began its climb.

Government, Non-Government Hiring Show No Major Change

The Job Creation Index for both government and non-government workers showed no material change in August. The index for government workers (local, state and federal) rose a single point to +32 -- the highest level since Gallup began identifying government workers in August 2008. This score is based on 45% of government workers reporting their employers are hiring new workers and 13% reporting their workplace is letting people go. The government index is up from +26 a year ago when 42% reported their government employers were adding workers and 16% reported workers were being let go.

Meanwhile, the index for non-government workers in August stood at +34. Forty-four percent report their employers are hiring new workers, 10% say they are cutting back.

2016_09_07_August_job_creation_chart2_(1)

After the economic crash of 2008, net government hiring moved into the red in early 2009 and stayed there for more than three years, not moving into positive territory until late 2012. A major gap opened between non-government and government workers, driven in large part by the high percentage of government workers reporting that their employers were letting people go. In April 2010, 36% in government jobs said their employers were letting people go, while 19% in non-government jobs reported cutbacks at their workplace. The percentage of non-government workers reporting cutbacks has stayed in the teens since then, but the percentage of government workers reporting cutbacks did not dip below 20% until 2014.

Bottom Line

U.S. workers in August were far more likely to report a growing workforce than a shrinking one at their workplaces, sustaining the solid hiring reports that are now well into the second year. The 19-month period that the index has stayed within a four-point range (+29 to +33) is the longest period of time since the index began in which it has been so stable.

The move toward hiring and away from cutting back continues to hold steady in the government sector this year, where reports from government workers give evidence of solid gains over the last 12 months.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 1-31, 2016, on Gallup Daily tracking, with a random sample of 17,894 workers, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of workers, 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 60% cellphone respondents and 40% 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 Gallup Daily tracking works.

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