December Jobs Report: What It Means

Posted: 01/10/14 | Category: Interviewing Job Search

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released the December job report and the numbers are lower than any original prediction. Prior to the announcement, there was a general consensus among most economists that the December job numbers would be anywhere from 197,000 to 238,000. When the BLS report was released to the public, it ended up being 74,000.

After two consecutive months of high job numbers, this dip is sending ripples through the market. Traditionally, December isn’t a high month for employment. What’s so surprising about all this is the decrease from the BLS’s November job report, which was revised in today’s press release to 241,000 from 203,000.

BLS reports also confirm that unemployment decreased to 6.7% from 7.0%. The drop can be attributed to several factors: people joining the work force, people no longer qualifying for unemployment benefits, and people being transitioned over to disability claims (the numbers of which are not factored into employment statistics). Labor force participation rates, which fell from 62.8% to 63.0%, suggest that a good deal of that drop was precipitated by more working age people leaving the workforce. For active job seekers, that means there will be less competition in the coming months.

Total Gains

When looking at the key industries that General Employment serves, the December job report provided mixed numbers.

Manufacturing

In the December job report, the manufacturing sector saw a year to year increase (from December 2012 to December 2013) of 7%. The number of job added between November and December more or less stayed the same with only a negligible uptick. 

  • December 2012: 11,939
  • October 2013: 12,024
  • November 2013: 12,024
  • December 2013: 12,028


Information Technology

In the various disciplines that make up the information technology sector, the year to year increase from December 2012 to December 2013 only ranked at a 2% increase. According to the BLS report, the number of jobs being added to the market between November and December remained pretty constant. For a closer look at these numbers, check out our Ashley Ellis website.

  • December 2012: 2,771
  • October 2013: 2,826
  • November 2013: 2,833
  • December 2013: 2,837


Accounting

For the accounting sector, the December job report remained relatively static. The year to year increase from December 2012 to December 2013 was less than 1%.  The number of jobs being added from the month before remained about level.

  • December 2012: 924
  • October 2013: 881
  • November 2013: 903
  • December 2013: 931

A Ray of Hope

Though the December job report was an overall disappointment, the January report should be easier to digest. Historically, January enjoys some of the highest employment numbers. Job seekers are out in full force and employers are looking to build up momentum with new talent. That means, this month may be a good time for job seekers to get back on the job search wagon and employers to bring new people on board.

General Employment can provide you with an inside look at new opportunities or access to a talent pool teeming with top professionals. Whether you’re in engineering, information technology, or accounting, we have a national team ready to help you.

by James Walsh

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