Employers Add Fewest Jobs In More Than Five Years

June 3, 2016 – Employers only added 38,000 jobs in April as the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. While this sharp slowdown marks the fewest number of jobs created in more than five years, the unemployment rate now stands at its lowest mart since November 2007. The number of workers unemployed fell by 484,000 to 7.4 million.

This report follows the addition of 215,000 jobs in March and an unemployment rate of five percent.

“The economy seems to pulse — surges a little bit, pauses, surges a little bit, pauses,” said Kevin Logan, chief U.S. economist at HSBC. “And in the end it’s nothing.”

Economists were anticipating payrolls rising by 164,000 in May and the unemployment rate falling to 4.9 percent.

During the month, job growth occurred in healthcare while mining continued to lose jobs.

Here’s a closer look:

  • Healthcare employment rose by 46,000, with increases occurring in ambulatory healthcare services (+24,000), hospitals (+17,000), and nursing care facilities (+5,000). Over the year, healthcare employment has increased by 487,000;
  • Mining employment continued to decline in May (-10,000). Since reaching a peak in September 2014, employment in mining has decreased by 207,000, with more than three-fourths of the loss in support activities for mining, including 6,000 this past month;
  • Employment in information declined by 34,000 during the month. About 35,000 workers in the telecommunications industry were on strike and not on company payrolls during the period (Verizon strike cut 34,000 jobs from payrolls);
  • Employment in professional and business services changed little in May (+10,000), after increasing 55,000 in April. Within the industry, professional and technical services added 26,000 jobs during the month, in line with the average monthly gains during the past 12 months;
  • Employment in other major industries, including construction, retail trade, transportation & warehousing, leisure & hospitality, financial activity, and government, showed little or no change over the month.

The report follows mixed expectations emanating from employers throughout the U.S.

Eighty-four percent of HR leaders say they are hiring for full-time positions, according to the recent report by recruiting services company LaSalle Network. The survey also found that 70 percent of respondents feel optimistic about the economy for the remainder of 2016. Leaders within the healthcare, technology, and education industries were more optimistic about their hiring plans.

“The economy is strong and has been strong for a while,” said Tom Gimbel, LaSalle Network founder and CEO. “Companies are hiring and investing resources into their businesses again, especially in high growth sectors like technology and healthcare.”

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According to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, stable but moderating hiring plans among U.S. employers is expected for the second quarter of 2016. The report says only 22 percent of companies anticipate increasing staff levels during the quarter. This represents a two percent increase from the first quarter and unchanged from the same period a year ago. Four percent of employers expect workforce reductions, but an overwhelming majority of respondents, 72 percent, expect no change in hiring plans. (The final two percent of employers are undecided about their hiring intentions).

Despite today’s report then, U.S. employers generally are remaining confident in their hiring plans. According CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast, 36 percent of employers are planning to add full time, permanent employees in 2016.

Comparing industries, financial services (46 percent), information technology (44 percent), and healthcare (43 percent) are expected to outperform the national average for employers adding full-time staff. Manufacturing (37 percent) is expected to mirror the national average.

According to the ‘2016 Hiring Outlook: Strategies for Adapting to a Candidate-Driven Market’ report released by The Execu | Search Group66 percent of employers plan to hire additional staff this year.

And with companies expecting to hire, employees have their eyes set on new positions. Twenty-one percent of workers plan to look for new jobs in 2016, according to a new study released by Penna. Forty-eight percent of people claimed the main reason for the change was that they were searching for better pay and benefits. Another 44 percent said it was down to the promise of greater development opportunities, while 32 percent said they were simply looking for a change in career direction. Penna’s survey found that employees aged 18 to 24 were the most likely to be planning a move this year, while 25 percent of those aged 25 to 34 are considering leaving their posts.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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