U.S. Job Creation Index Inches Up to +29

Justin McCarthy

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index increased by a point for February, to a current score of +29. This is slightly higher than the readings of +27 or +28 found over the previous four months, and just shy of the record for Gallup's seven-year trend, which was +30 in September 2014.

Gallup Job Creation Index Among All U.S. Workers -- January 2008-February 2015

The index has experienced a slow, but steady rise over the past several years after hitting a monthly low of -5 in February and April 2009. Last year, Americans' perceptions of job creation experienced some of their greatest gains -- particularly in the first half of the year -- before the index hit its seven-year high in the fall.

Reflecting the index gains over the past year, the +29 index score for February is eight points higher than that of February 2014.

Gallup's Job Creation Index is a measure of net hiring activity in the U.S., with the February average based on a nationally representative sample of more than 15,000 full- and part-time workers. February's +29 score is the result of 41% 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 at their workplaces.

Trend: U.S. Workers' Reports of Job Conditions Where They Work

Uptick in Both Government and Nongovernment Hiring

Americans who work for nongovernment employers had slightly more positive perceptions of hiring at their jobs in February (+31) than in January (+29), with the current score just one point below the high of +32 found in September. Nongovernment jobs account for the large majority of employment in the U.S.

Government workers also saw an increase in hiring from the previous month -- by one point, reaching a score of +20.

Trend: Gallup Job Creation Index -- Government vs. Nongovernment Workers

Bottom Line

Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index has shown tremendous growth since 2009, including an increase of eight points since last February. Americans' perceptions of the jobs outlook are consistent with the fairly promising reports delivered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in recent months.

The index's current score is now on the high end of its historical range, although the positive momentum of the past few years has mostly leveled off, with only modest increases at best since the fall. The Job Creation Index has had the best recent performance of Gallup's economic indicators. With economic confidence falling slightly, Americans are perhaps not feeling the economy is as strong as it was in January. Reported spending dipped too, compared with the previous February, suggesting a fairly weak month of consumer spending.