2014 Workforce Trends: Part 1 – Where the Jobs Are

201302-wpe-post-headerWith a new year and new jobs data having been released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are publishing a two-part blog series to highlight some of the latest job market trends. In part one, we’ll discuss job sectors experiencing growth, touch on emerging industries and explore some thriving geographic regions. In part two, we’ll look at some of the regions and job sectors in decline for 2014. 

The recession seems to be in the rearview mirror and job growth is occurring in many sectors, making 2014 a promising year for employment figures across the board. This is good news for the U.S. economy and a welcome refutation of last year’s doomsayers who believed that the economy would falter in the near future.

Pundits galore predicted that the unemployment rate would rise in 2013 and 2014, driven by a perfect storm of returning vets, Baby Boomers unable to retire due to losses from the housing crash, reduced consumer spending, and increased offshoring of jobs to China and elsewhere.

The numbers, however, tell a different story. In November, the private sector added 238,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dipped below 7 percent for the first time in five years and seems poised to continue its downward course. Baby Boomers are indeed retiring, freeing up much-needed employment opportunities for Millennials. Meanwhile, manufacturing costs in China appear to be rising, rather than falling. These factors are driving job growth across a variety of sectors.
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December job growth staggers, but unemployment drops to 6.7%

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the December 2013 employment report showing an addition of 74,000 new jobs, and a decreased unemployment rate of 6.7%, the lowest number since October 2008.

With the fourth quarter of 2013 showing robust job growth, experts were expecting to see numbers and data that continued the upward trend. What the report showed, however, was a number of contradictions.

On a positive note, the November job numbers saw the revised addition of 38,000 more jobs than previously accounted for. Additionally, the unemployment rate for December 2013 was the lowest since October 2008. With the completion of the December data, the average job gain for 2013 was 182,000 jobs a month, about the same as 2012.

A deeper look at the numbers showed many pieces of conflicting data— after such strong reports in the past few months, what did this number mean? The gain of 74,000 jobs in December 2013 was the smallest addition seen since January 2011.
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A deeper look into the BLS jobs report

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The November 2013 release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation Summary” revealed that 203,000 jobs were generated last month, making this the second consecutive month in which more than 200,000 jobs were created. Total employment increased, and unemployment fell to 7.0%, the lowest since November 2008. These factors prompted a reduction in the country’s jobless rate.

There’s little argument that the U.S. economy is recovering at a steady pace, and a clear indicator to this is that since August, 204,000 new jobs have been created each month. Since January, nearly 2.1 million jobs have been added, leading many economists to forecast similar growth trends in the first quarter of 2014.
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Unemployment Drops to Lowest in Five Years

October US Jobs Report

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the November 2013 unemployment report showing an addition of 203,000 new jobs and a decreased unemployment rate of 7.0%, the lowest level in five years.

Last month’s unemployment report pleasantly surprised experts with a solid increase in jobs added—all taking place during the government shutdown. In light of this, many economists were anxiously awaiting the November report—the last in 2013—to show whether the October data had been a fluke, or if it was a sign of upward growth.

The November report showed that the data was indeed a sign of positive growth with the economy adding jobs, a positive revision of 8,000 positions in September and October, and a slight increase in the employment-population ratio.
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Waging a debate: The pros and cons of raising the minimum wage

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In September, California’s legislature approved a bill raising the state’s minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10 an hour, becoming the first state in the nation to surpass the double-digit minimum wage threshold.

But it looks like California won’t be the last. On November 19, the Massachusetts Senate voted to raise the state’s minimum wage from $8 an hour to $11 an hour. In addition, 12 other states have implemented minimum wage increases as well.

At the federal level, President Obama recently called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, which would represent the first change to the federal minimum wage since 2009 and the largest increase in history. Thirty-one states adhere to the federal minimum wage.

Clearly, the push to raise the minimum wage is gaining momentum. But is it the right move for businesses, workers and the economy overall? Well, it depends on who you ask.

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Joblessness is gradually declining in most metro areas

Jobs report: in your region

As a result of October’s federal government shutdown, the BLS’ latest “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report, concerning September’s job creation statistics, will not be published this month, as originally planned.

September’s data will still be released however, but not until December 5th. On that day, the BLS will publish its final “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report of the year, featuring September and October’s employment figures.

Although September’s statistics have yet to be released, many economists anticipate next month’s report will be quite similar to those of recent months – revealing steady job growth throughout all regions of the United States, leading to a year-over-year deceleration in unemployment within a majority of metro areas.

Last month, the BLS found that 311 of the nation’s 372 metro areas reported lower unemployment rates in August 2013 than in August 2012. In addition, 214 metro areas’ unemployment rates were either lower than, or equal to, August’s national average of 7.3 percent. Additionally, from August 2012 to August 2013, 288 metro areas reported a rise in total nonfarm payroll employment.

Furthermore, last month, the following metro areas also released their employment and inflation statistics, with regards to August’s Consumer Price Indexes and unemployment rates.

See where joblessness is on the decline in your area now: 
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