January Job Market Updates: Shaker’s Take


Construction jobs were a major contributor to job growth in January as reported by both the ADP National Employment Report/ADP Research Institute and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In addition to construction, other weather-sensitive sectors such as leisure and hospitality saw strong job growth in January. Construction generated 44,000 new jobs last month as reported by the BLS and 47,000 new jobs per ADP. Leisure and hospitality saw an increase of 36,000 jobs in January per BLS and 96,000 new jobs during the month per ADP.

The ADP data comes from ADP’s actual payroll data, measuring the change in total nonfarm private employment each month. The BLS report consists of two surveys, the Current Population Survey which surveys 60,000 households, and the Current Employment Statistics survey which audits the payrolls of 142,000 businesses and government agencies.

Per the BLS, most of the gains in construction employment occurred for specialty trade contractors, with increases in residential (+18,000), and nonresidential (+17,000) segments. In January, construction may also have been helped by lower mortgage rates and growing demand for new housing.

Overall construction added an average of 12,000 jobs each month in 2019. For hospitality and leisure, the last six months of 2019 were strong with an average growth of 40,000 jobs per month per the BLS.

Healthcare and education were up by 72,000 jobs in January according to the BLS and by 70,000 per ADP. Most of the BLS gains were in ambulatory health care services (+23,000) and hospitals (+10,000). Health care added an average of 31,000 jobs per month per the BLS in 2019.

Transportation and warehousing grew by 28,000 in January per the BLS with most gains for couriers and messengers (+14,000) and for warehouse package handlers (+6,000).

Professional and business services were up by 21,000 in January per the BLS with a monthly average in 2019 of 32,500 new jobs per month. ADP reported a January increase for professional and business services of 49,000 new jobs.

Manufacturing was down for the third time in four months, in January by 12,000 per the BLS, impacted by sluggish overseas growth, U.S. trade negotiations and a decrease in hiring for auto production and parts workers. Of the 12,000 jobs lost in January, 11,000 were in motor vehicles and parts. A turnaround in manufacturing may be delayed in the upcoming months by the coronavirus as well as production being halted on the Boeing 737 Max. Meanwhile, the ADP numbers showed an increase of 10,000 jobs in manufacturing in January.

Retail was down by 8,300 jobs in January per the BLS. ADP did not provide a breakout for retail.

Overall, payrolls were up by 225,000 in January per the BLS and by 291,000 new jobs according to ADP.

According to the analysis of Dow Jones & Company, “The pace of hiring is surprisingly strong more than 10 and a half years after the last recession, fueling the longest expansion in U.S. history. Companies aren’t adding as many workers as they were a few years ago, but many complain they can’t find enough skilled workers to fill a still-high number of job openings.”

Talent management industry advisory Josh Bersin adds, “For the next ten years, the term ‘shortage of talent’ is going to be one of the most important topics in business.”

Check out the infographic below for key facts about the January job market changes.

For our clients at Shaker Recruitment Marketing, a tightening, competitive market for qualified candidates prioritizes the importance to maintain an engaging employer brand to attract the quality and quantity of talent sought by employers to remain productive and profitable. For advice on employer branding and all forms of candidate generation through external recruiting campaigns, internal referral programs, and sourcing to support short-term initiatives as well as consultation on long-term staffing campaigns contact us at info@shaker.com.

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Mike Temkin

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