Gallup’s September Job Creation Index indicated that nongovernmental jobs are being created at the lowest rate since February. The index score of +21 is down from +23 in August and well below the +25 high for the year posted in April.
State and local governments, however, have ticked up to positive territory, levels not seen since late 2008. The state government index rose to +6 and the local index rose to +5. Job creation scores “reflect the difference between the percentage of workers who say their employer is hiring and expanding the size of its workforce and the percentage who say their employer is letting workers go and reducing the size of its workforce.”
The index for the federal government came in at -13, down slightly from -12 in August. The federal government has been trimming jobs steadily since late 2009.
Complications abound in the current U.S. job creation picture. On the one hand, nongovernment-sector workers continue to report conditions as good as or better than those seen before the global economic collapse. At the same time, the situation has deteriorated in comparison with the previous six months.
State and local governments currently provide a bright spot, but it is unclear whether their hiring will continue at its current pace after the first months of a new fiscal year and as budget shortfalls remain a widespread issue. The federal government continues to be a drag on U.S. job creation, but with the U.S. deficit remaining a major source of concern for Americans and politicians alike, and the “fiscal cliff” looming, this is not likely to change anytime soon.
Today’s report from ADP indicated that the U.S. added private payroll jobs in September at a faster clip than estimated. The number that really counts comes out Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but these indications do not lead to expectations of a major change to job growth or the U.S. unemployment rate.