June's job growth numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics didn't deliver great news. The 2.8 percent increase from mid-2013 is absolutely nothing to sneeze at, but it is the lowest number since December. Notable drivers of the slowdown were the information and finance sectors, which are both clearly shrinking, as well as manufacturing, which grew at less than half its Q1 average.
On the flip side, construction, professional services and hospitality employers continue to chug along. But getting back above 3 percent and staying there until we get to 2015 will require other sectors to play a healthier role.
Middle Tennessee's job engine appears to be humming along nicely so far in 2014. Through the first three months of this year, area employers have grown their collective staff by an average of 3.2 percent. Leading the way have been construction and professional and business services — the latter likely including a number of staffing company positions that will work their way into other sectors on the stat sheet in the coming months. Also worth noting is the growing strength in retail and relative weakness in the finance sector.
The Nashville MSA's job market kicked 2014 off with a bit of a bang, growing 3.7 percent from the year before. A surge in construction employment that began in December carried through to January — we're betting February won't be as strong with all the winter storms — while the business services and leisure sectors also posted strong numbers. Bringing up the rear in January were the government and education/health sectors.
The government's January numbers included a recalibrated set of 2013 data that pegged Nashville's growth rate for the year at 2.7 percent. That's not bad — and more than double the state's 1.1 percent — but more than a point below 2012's 3.9 percent. Check out all of the state's numbers here.
Caroline Chen at Bloomberg has gathered some thoughts and perspective on the fact that U.S. hospitals have shed more than 9,000 jobs in the past two months. The two big trends of health care reform's implementation and outpatient care's growth are shaping that move, experts say, and will force hospital operators to make more "difficult business decisions" in the years ahead.
“It’s a much more complex answer than just cutting people,” he said. “It’s about carefully looking around your business model and asking how you can deliver higher quality care faster and cheaper. You’re not going to build that new hospital wing yet.”
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has released statistics showing strong future job growth in the leisure/hospitality, manufacturing and professional/business services sectors. Each of the sectors is expected to grow the number of jobs by at least 2 percent from 2013 to 2014.
Called the 2013-2014 Short-Term Industry and Occupational Projections, the figures show the annual employment and industry changes based on short- and long-term trends.
“This information can help Tennesseans distinguish the jobs and industries that will be in demand and others that may be in decline,” Martha Wettemann, a statistical analyst supervisor with the department, said in a release. “The forecast also demonstrates employment in the state that is expected to grow.”
The projections show about 3.1 million jobs for 2014, resulting in an average annual growth rate of 1.2 percent.
A big reason for the sluggishness of the recovery has been the relative lack of participation from small businesses, which have traditionally been big job growth drivers coming out of recession. (The most recent NFIB survey showed little improvement on that front.) A Goldman Sachs team has dug into government numbers and determined that a number of structural changes within the economy account for much of that trend. And that's not a great thing for the future of the economy.
Looking ahead, the Goldman Sachs economists say these factors argue that small-business hiring won’t outperform larger enterprises. But small firms will see positive hiring, especially as the housing recovery benefits small construction companies. Those jobs should be plus to overall payroll growth.
Nashville-area employers are still hiring new workers at a good clip, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Since a big late-2012 revision, downright gaudy growth numbers from the durable goods and business services sectors have helped the Nashville area post year-over-year growth of almost 4 percent. Now helping the overall number is a government sector that's no longer shrinking, although local technology boosters will want the red number in information to quickly fade this summer.
After averaging almost 4 percent over the previous three months, year-over-year job growth in the Middle Tennessee area slowed a bit in March to a still-very-respectable 2.8 percent. Three sectors are in the red versus early 2012 — including, somehow, construction — but big sectors such as business services and manufacturing are still going strong.
Even though millions of people have dropped out of the U.S. labor market and the pace of job growth is agonizingly irregular, the U.S. labor market is steadily healing as evidenced by the number of job openings. But Sudeep Reddy at the Journal points out that we have plenty of mending still to do.