August 2012: Employment Rebounds, Nears Year-HighAugust 2012: Employment Rebounds, Nears Year-High
August might be the dog days of summer, but the month’s jobs reports hardly lagged. Managerial employment activity online rebounded substantially from a sluggish July, reaching the second highest peak since January 2008, according to the CareerCast.com/JobSerf Employment Index. The nearly 10% gain was second only to February for the largest in 2012, and surpassed any monthly increases made in all of 2011.
August gains have been noteworthy each of the past two years. The 8.8% increase a year ago was the most significant of 2011. And yet, the 2012 pace is a considerable six points higher than this time last year.
After August 2011’s measurable leap, September took a 5-point dip. In fact, September employment figures have dropped each year since 2008. But with a presidential election looming in November, JobSerf COO Jay Martin says to expect the unexpected for the remainder of 2012.
“Election cycles provide uncertainty for the hiring market, and this is may become apparent in September and continue possibly through year end,” says Martin.
Volatility on the employment front overtook the 2008 campaign, particularly in September. The 18% drop that month was the largest, single month slide the job market has taken in the last five years, coinciding with historic drops in the stock market and the bankruptcy of such financial titans as Lehman Bros. Sen. John McCain went so far as to briefly suspend his campaign and famously skip an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
In contrast to 2008’s steady slide, 2012 hiring has crept back above pre-recession standards. "The nation has flirted with an improved hiring market repeatedly this year, and each time we take two steps forward, we seem to then take a step back," says Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com. "Hopefully, we're moving to a new level of activity that will sustain for a while."
So, how do we determine these numbers?
The CareerCast.com/JobSerf Employment Index calculates the number of available managerial job openings each month by surveying wide range of local and national job boards across the U.S, with all results hand-counted and checked for duplication by a team of researchers. What does an overall Index score of 113.6 for August 2012 mean? The Index measures employment activity against a base score of 100, which represents the volume of job openings during the same period in 2008. A score higher than 100 means that there are more available jobs than in 2008, while one below 100 means that job seekers now have fewer opportunities available. Over the past 55 months, the CareerCast.com/JobSerf Index is higher at 113.6 than in August of 2008.
- USA Hiring Index, January 2008 - August 2012
|Index Month||Index Score||Monthly Change|
Big gains in Hartford and Boston carried the Northeast in August. Read on and learn how each region of the U.S. fared.
August 2012: Employment Activity By RegionAugust 2012: Employment Activity By Region
Sizable increases in Hartford, Baltimore and Boston made the Northeast the nation’s most active region for managerial employment this month. After dipping below pre-2008 levels earlier this summer, the region surged closer to its March 2012 pinnacle of 111.9.
"Boston and Hartford led the way in raw gains as well as percentage increase,” Martin says. “Hartford had historically been ranked where it is [No. 14 nationally], and is now returning." Hartford ranked No. 18 at the start of the year, and is nearing its five-year high of 73 reached last August. Boston achieved its best numbers yet, with an index score of 159.
The Nutmeg State’s largest city shows growth after increased unemployment claims in May and June. The BLS projected Hartford’s unemployment rate at 8.5 in June, near its January 2012 mark, but considerably higher than its 7.4 total in April.
The Associated Press reported Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s announced expansion of accounting firm Deloitte and Touche at the beginning of the month, anticipating 500 new positions in addition to more than 1,100 employees already in the state. That news came just weeks after a $19 million state loan was granted for the creation of 400 jobs in steel manufacturing.
Elsewhere, Dallas showed continued improvement, moving up for a third consecutive month. The Southwest as a whole experienced a 6.9 % decrease – yet remains 3.7 % ahead of 2011 standards.
Those regions that dipped in August – hiring in the West remains stagnant, for example – only did so marginally. And even the West, lagging behind 2008 numbers as a whole, featured 6% improvement in its largest city, Los Angeles.
"The slowest cities only had per capita hiring levels drop 1 or 2 points, showing an overall strength of the job market throughout the summer,” Martin says.
Among those cities were Memphis, Tampa and Milwaukee. Their slight drop-offs contributed to overall slides in the Southeast and Midwest. The most notable decline this month was in Cleveland, which dropped three percent. The city is 16% below its Nov. 2010 peak.
Continue reading for analysis of how individual job titles fared in August hiring.
August 2012: Employment Activity by Job TitleAugust 2012: Employment Activity by Job Title
None of the job categories in the report experienced a decline in August; most climbed significantly and approached their springtime highs. C and Director Level hiring jumped six and five points, while VP Level positions rose 14 points. Manager-level employment held steady – slightly down from June, but improved overall since tumbling in April. These positions are also ahead of the curve compared to August figures in 2009 and 2010.
"The level of jobs for managerial positions is currently strong, and we saw clients receive more job [listings] versus other Augusts,” Martin says.
|Index Month||C-Level||VP Level||Director Level||Manager Level|
August was the third month in 2012 wherein all levels either increased or held steady.