New Hiring Rate Strongest in 18 Months, Led by Oil & Gas Industry

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New hiring in the months of January and February was the strongest for a two-month period since August and September of 2015, according to a new report on hiring released Tuesday by professional social media site LinkedIn. Across the United States, hiring was 1.3% lower, year over year, in January and 1.4% higher in February.

The industry posting the best hiring growth in February was oil and gas, and hiring in Houston, Texas, is the strongest that it’s been in more than two years. LinkedIn’s “Hiring Rate” in Houston is up 24% since September 2016.

LinkedIn defines hiring rate as “the percentage of LinkedIn members who changed the name of their new employer on their profile the same month they began their new job, divided by the total number of LinkedIn members in the U.S.”

The hiring rate in the manufacturing/industrial sector was up 2% year over year in February and up 1.9% month over month. This increase came despite the loss of workers in rust-belt cities that are traditionally tied to manufacturing and industrial jobs.

Of the 10 cities losing the most workers, six could be considered in the nation’s rust belt. The top two cities losing workers were Hartford, Connecticut, (population loss of 59.6 workers per 10,000 LinkedIn members) and Providence, Rhode Island, (59.3 workers lost). The fourth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-ranked cities were Pittsburgh (50.7 workers lost), Chicago (41.6 workers lost), Baltimore (36.7 workers lost) and St. Louis (34.6 workers lost), respectively.

The 10 cities gaining the most workers per 10,000 LinkedIn members were:

  1. Seattle: 74.2 workers gained
  2. Austin: 68 workers gained
  3. Denver: 66.8 workers gained
  4. Portland, Oregon: 65.6 workers gained
  5. Charlotte, North Carolina: 58.3 workers gained
  6. West Palm Beach: 52.6 workers gained
  7. Tampa/St. Petersburg: 51.8 workers gained
  8. Nashville: 46.7 workers gained
  9. Las Vegas: 39.5 workers gained
  10. Dallas/Fort Worth: 31.4 workers gained

The researchers commented on this migration:

We noticed that Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston are gaining lots of workers from Chicago and New York City. But all of these cities are losing workers to Seattle and Denver, which are gaining workers in spades. We consider this trend as an extension of the “rust belt to sun belt” migration we’ve been experiencing since the 1960s; but we may need to rename the trend the “rust belt to sun and rain belts” to include the Pacific Northwest.

LinkedIn, part of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) since its $26 billion acquisition was completed in December, began issuing this monthly report in January, and it has already made it onto President Donald Trump’s radar.  Just after 4:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted:

Perhaps he noticed this comment in the report:

Two months doesn’t make a trend, but it seems like the stronger hiring is being driven by elevated business confidence due to the new administration’s promises to lower taxes and reduce regulations.

The full workforce report is available here.