Forget the Party and the Gift Cards, Cash Tops the List

Express recently released the results of two polls on holiday bonuses revealing that what employees want and what employers are willing to give are often different things. In an online poll, employees and job seekers were asked, “How do you wish your company showed appreciation to employees?” Twenty-seven percent said “cash bonus,” and 13% said “pay raises.” In a separate online poll, business leaders were similarly asked, “What type of holiday bonus will you give your employees this year?” Most respondents said cash, but 21% said, “We will not give holiday bonuses.” Of the 7% percent who chose “other,” 27% self-reported answers like “no holiday bonuses ever.” “During the holiday season, it’s important for businesses to show their appreciation to their employees. It can be disheartening for an employee to feel unappreciated, yet our poll indicates that more than a fifth of employers won’t give their workers anything this holiday season. You don’t have to be extravagant about your holiday bonuses, but it’s important to show recognition,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express. – Dec. 11, 2014

Fewer Workers Moving Between Jobs, Expected to Rise

In a healthy economy, the job market will experience a high churn rate, a measure of job-to-job movement among workers within the labor force. This rate, affected by turnover and attrition, is a strong indicator of employees moving forward in their career and employers bringing new life into their team. However, current churn rates are lagging behind job creation. In a recent report, CareerBuilder showed that the job-to-job movement dropped 23% during the recession and has remained below the 85.6% high (2003-2006). In 2013, the national churn rate stood at 68.1%, still well below the national high. According to CareerBuilder, people aren't moving from job to job like they had in the past. “Churn measures the pulse of hiring activity in an economy,” explained Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “Low churn rates mean fewer workers are moving to jobs that better utilize their skills, which in turn can lower productivity for companies and stall wage growth for individuals.” The churn rate in the U.S. is expected to grow as the labor market continues to improve. Production/manufacturing and arts/entertainment had the fastest churn-rate recovery.
CareerBuilder – Dec. 8, 2014

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Temp Jobs Up, Staffing at Pre-Recession Levels

Temporary services jobs rose by 8.52% year over year in November, down from 9.15% in October, while the temporary penetration rate reached another all-time high at 2.12%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The temporary penetration rate is calculated by dividing the total number of temporary services jobs by the amount of Americans currently employed. The industry added 22,700 positions in November. The U.S. employed an average of 3.26 million temporary and contract workers per week during the third quarter of 2014, up 6.1% year over year, according to the American Staffing Association.
Staffing Industry – Dec. 5, 2014

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Consumer Confidence Declines in November

After The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in October, the index declined in November from 94.1 to 88.7. The Present Situation Index also declined to 91.3 in November from 94.4 in October, while the Expectations Index decreased sharply to 87.0 in November from 93.8 in October. According to Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, the index decreased due to a less-optimistic short-term outlook. “Consumers were somewhat less positive about current business conditions and the present state of the job market,” Franco said. “However, income expectations were virtually unchanged and gas prices remain low, which should help boost holiday sales.” After optimism also improved in October, the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 19.4 to 17.6 in November.
The Conference Board – Nov. 25, 2014

Hiring, Cheaper Fuel Give US Retailers a Boost

With help from falling prices at the pump and rising opportunities in the job market, U.S. retail sales rose 0.7%, up from a 0.5% increase in October and the most since March 2014. The majority of economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a 0.4% increase. Electronics, clothing, and furniture were among the highest purchased items, according to the Commerce Department. According to another report, Americans are filing fewer unemployment claims. Retail sales, excluding auto sales, rose 0.5% in November, which also exceeded the economists’ expectations of a 0.1% rise. Experts say lower gas prices are freeing up spending money for consumers this holiday season, and with employment expecting to rise by the most jobs since 1999, the momentum could continue through 2015.
Bloomberg – Dec. 11, 2014

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US Loan Demand for New Homes Drops in November

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), U.S. mortgage applications to purchase new homes decreased 22% in November. The MBA attributed the drop to tight credit conditions keeping first-time home buyers from obtaining loans. The average loan size to purchase a home rose from $300,000 in October to $307,000 in November. According to Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, “builders are having greater success with higher priced homes and difficulty at the entry level.” The MBA said there was a projected 28,000 new homes sold in November, down 22.2% from 36,000 sold in October.
Reuters – Dec. 11, 2014

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November 2014

The U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November, as the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8%. The Professional & Business Services industry saw the largest growth in employment in November, adding 86,000 positions. Learn more from the recent employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and view the unemployment rate in your state.

Major Industry Employment:

  • Construction: + 20,000
  • Manufacturing: + 28,000
  • Retail Trade: + 50,200
  • Professional & Business Services: + 86,000
  • Education & Health Services: + 38,000
  • Information: + 4,000
  • Transportation: + 16,700
  • Government: + 7,000

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Employment Trends is a publication of Express Services, Inc., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. © 2014.