3 Stocks Set to Benefit From a Tighter Jobs Market

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Employment data out of the United States came out better than expected this week, with nonfarm payrolls due shortly. The Challenger Job-Cut Report is still below average, and Moody’s ADP private payroll estimate climbed by 172,000 jobs in June. Jobless claims fell another 16,000 last week and are still at multidecade lows. Jobs growth is good across the board, which points to a good nonfarm payrolls number ahead, but even if it isn’t as good as expected, the job market is still very tight.

Given all this, one sector in particular stands to benefit from increased employment activity. That is, the recruitment space. Here are three of the leading recruitment stocks to look at in this tight jobs market.

Monster Worldwide

Monster Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: MWW) is primarily an online job platform that seeks to connect employers with those looking for work through a range of websites, applications and direct communication. There are a whole host of these sorts of platforms, but Monster has risen to the top of the bunch, and from a valuation perspective it now stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the traditional brick-and-mortar players in the space.

Monster is expanding its mobile offerings, having just acquired Jobr, a Tinder-like application for job hunters, and it has generated a positive bottom line in each of the past three quarters. Net income for 2015 came in at a little over $73 million, and the company had $131 million cash on hand at last count. That already strong position is likely to strengthen further as the employment sector heats up.

The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $4.30. The shares closed most recently at $2.47, in a 52-week range of $2.13 to $8.23.

Adecco

Adecco Group trades over the counter but has a valuation nearing $9 billion. It is headquartered in Switzerland, hence the OTC listing in the United States, but operates on a global scale, with more than 30,000 employees globally. The company just beat analyst estimates on its first-quarter earnings, with sales of around $6.1 billion, and it expects growth somewhere in the region of 4% quarterly throughout the remainder of the year. Adecco is especially big in the construction space, and with data from the United States, Europe and Asia pointing toward a boost in construction, it should draw benefit from boost in both short-term and long-term industry hires.

OTC shares closed most recently at $24.07, in a 52-week range of $23.41 to $42.79.

Microsoft

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is not a name usually associated with job recruitment, but it is buying LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD), which generated $861 million during the first quarter of 2016 — $558 million of which was derived from its Talent Solutions division. Some $502 million of that came from hiring revenue, up 27% year over year. This is likely to grow further as more jobs become available and business and employers use the platform to conduct their searches. Couple this with the increased ad revenue that should come concurrent to jobs growth, because more jobs means more people visiting these websites and higher ad revenue.

The stock closed most recently at $51.38. The consensus price target is $58.13, and the 53-week range is $39.72 to $56.85.

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