November 2014 Employment Report by Bruce Steinberg

Employment Situation (November 2014) published by Bruce Steinberg

named as a Top 100 Influencer in HR-Recruiting

Home of the first and only U.S. employment report podcast


Quick Recap

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent for November 2014 as a result of some relatively small movements in the underlying data. We are not alarmed by this development. For more detail, see the “Household Survey” section at the bottom of this column.

On the other side of the monthly employment picture, the total number of jobs was up 321,000; the gains were fairly broad-based and not just concentrated in Retail (although this sector did quite well) and sectors associated with this time of year.  The economy hasn’t seen an increase of more than 300,000 jobs in almost three years when it grew by 360,000 in January 2012. Last month, in October 2014, it was up 243,000 and a year ago, in September 2013, total nonfarm jobs grew by 274,000.

Jobs Report

Total private-sector jobs grew by 314,000 in November that was much better than October’s growth of 236,000 as well as a year ago, in November 2013, when private-sector jobs increased 272,000.

The private Goods-producing sector grew by 48,000 jobs in November compared to growth of 28,000 in October, although it was not as strong as a year ago (November 2013) when it grew by 68,000.

  • Building new jobs by the Construction sector picked up with growth of 20,000 compared to October’s gain of only 7,000; however, a year ago in November 2013, this sector was able to hammer together 32,000 new jobs.
  • Manufacturers assembled 28,000 more jobs in November and that was a nice improvement from October’s growth of 20,000 but markedly weaker than the 35,000 they added a year earlier in November 2013.
  • Hiring activity continued to slow down in Mining and logging that was flat, neither adding or subtracting any jobs after adding only 1,000 in October.

The private Service-providing sector contributed 266,000 more jobs in November, which was was a very nice improvement from October’s growth of 208,000, September’s increase of 213,000 as well as from a year ago, November 2013, when it rose 204,000.

  • The Retail trade sector did quite well in November with growth of 50,200, which was an improvement from October’s increase of 34,200 and considerably better than a year ago, in November 2013, when this sector only added 22,300.
  • The pace at Wholesale trade slowed with the addition of only 2,500 jobs after adding 6,100 in October; a year ago, in November 2013, it was up 16,800.
  • The Transportation and warehousing sector continued to move in November with growth of 16,700 jobs, which was a slight improvement from October’s growth of 15,300; a year ago, in November 2013, it as really racing along when it added 32,400 jobs.
  • Financial activities employers seem to be more active at the end of the year since they added 20,000 in November after growing by only 6,000 in October; a year ago, in November 2013, they cut 4,000 jobs.
  • The Professional and business services sector’s job picked up steam as well with the addition of 86,000 jobs compared to a gain of 52,000 in October; a year ago, in November 2013, it added 73,000. Computer systems design and related services added 6,500 jobs in November that was not quite up to the 7,400 it added in October.  Management and technical consulting services was able to grow by 7,300 jobs in November that was stronger than the 6,000 it added in October; Architectural and engineering services added 4,500 jobs in November that was also stronger than October’s gain of 3,800.
  • The Education and health services sector added a total of 38,000 jobs in November with the sector’s highly seasonal Educational services sub-sector increasing by less than 1,000. Therefore, growth in the Health care and social assistance portion was 37,200, which was a bit better than the 31,500 growth of October. Home health care services was up by 5,000 in November, which was weaker than the 8,300 gain of October.
  • New jobs in the Leisure and hospitality sector increased 32,000 in November after adding 55,000 jobs in October, and somewhat off the 37,000 it added in November 2013.

The total number of Government jobs was up by 7,000. The federal government was up 5,000 jobs (of which 4,000 were at the USPS); State government was up by 3,000; and Local government was down 1,000.

Temporary Help Services Roundup

As the Fed observed in its latest Beige Book (see the top box of this report),Temporary Help Services growth was strong as it continued to reach new highs.

In November, Temporary help services was up 22,700 to 2,975,200, which was 0.8percent sequential growth and year-on-year growth of 8.5 percent. Will it break through the 3,000,000 level before the end of 2014? Well, if not in December, then it likely will reach that milestone in January 2015.

In October, THS was up 19,500 jobs.  A year ago, in November 2013, THS was up by 36,600 jobs with sequential growth of 0.1 percent and year-on-year growth of 8.1percent.

Temporary help service’s market share — that is its portion of all jobs — continued to increase and reached an all-time high of 2.12 percent in November; in October it was 2.11 percent and was 2.0 percent in November 2013.

Bruce Steinberg November

Household Survey

Although the November 5.8 percent unemployment rate was unchanged from October– it’s still at the lowest it has been since July 2008. In November 2013, was 7.0 percent.

That 5.8 percent unemployment rate was the result of a labor force growing by only 119,000 and there were only 4,000 more employed persons while the number of unemployed persons increased 115,000. The number not in the labor force grew by 69,000. In other words, despite the labor force expanding and a relatively small number of people becoming employed, the unemployment rate needle did not move (at least not at the one-tenth percentage level).

The employment-to-population ratio was unchanged at 59.2 percent in November and up from 58.6 percent a year earlier. The labor force participation rate was also unchanged at 62.8 percent but down from a year ago, in November 2013, when it was 63.0. The number of discouraged workers continued to decline with only 698,000 of them compared to 762,000 a year earlier in November 2013.