U.S. Job Creation Index Edges Up to New High in May

Rebecca Riffkin

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index reached +32 for the month of May, the highest Gallup has found, by one point, since 2008. It slightly exceeds the +31 found in April, and the +30 found in September 2014.

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

Shortly after Gallup began tracking job creation in January 2008, the index nosedived as the Great Recession wreaked havoc on the economy. After remaining in negative territory for most of 2009, the index slowly recovered, reaching +30 in September 2014. It then dipped slightly and stayed between +27 and +29 for six months. More recently, it increased two points in April and another point in May to reach the current high.

The results are based on interviews with 17,609 U.S. full- and part-time workers conducted May 1-31 as part of Gallup Daily tracking. Gallup asks employed workers nationwide each day whether their employer is increasing, reducing or maintaining the size of its workforce. In May, 43% of workers said their employer was hiring workers and expanding the size of its workforce, the same as in April. Meanwhile, 11% said their employer was letting people go and reducing the size of its workforce, down slightly from 12% in April. The difference between these two estimates produced the U.S. Job Creation Index of +32 in May.

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

In May, the percentage of workers reporting that their employer was hiring was slightly above the percentage reporting no change in their employer's workforce. This has happened only a few times since the recession, including in April of this year and September 2014; in both months, the index reached a new high point.

Government Employees' Perceived Job Creation at New High

Within the government sector, the Job Creation Index score reached a new high of +25 in May. This is up from +22 in April and the previous high of +23 in August 2014. Despite the uptick in government job creation last month, perceptions of hiring among nongovernment workers have consistently been stronger than those of government workers since 2009. The index averaged +33 among nongovernment workers in May, consistent with the high found in April.

Government vs. Nongovernment Job Creation Index, Monthly Averages, August 2008-May 2015

Bottom Line

Nationally, workers' improved perceptions of hiring activity in their workplaces are a good sign for the economy as summer begins. The positive trend on job creation matches other reports of low unemployment that Gallup and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have found. However, there have also been several negative economic news items. Gallup's measure of Americans' economic confidence dipped in May, and consumer spending was flat, but was down from prior highs. Altogether, the economy appears to show a mixture of good signs and bad signs. However, this new high in perceived job creation is a good sign for U.S. employment.

Historical data on these questions are available in Gallup Analytics.