The first quarter of 2016 is behind us and we took a look at key data points from this period to illustrate the state of our jobs market.
We found that:
- For the first time in eight years, the national unemployment rate fell below 5 percent. This is the lowest rate since 2008 and markedly improved from a high of 10 percent in 2009.
- Although employers across the nation added 242,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in February, job growth in Massachusetts has slowed; revised numbers now show that job growth peaked in 2014 at 2.4 percent.
- After strong growth in 2015, the rate of wage increases has slowed so far in 2016 with a yearly growth in average hourly earnings at 2.2 percent, only slightly ahead of the inflation rate.
- The overall share of Americans in the labor force ticked up to 62.9 percent.
- Staffing companies employed an average of 3.3 million temporary and contract workers per week in 2015, up 2.6% from 2014, according to data from the American Staffing Association.
- Temporary help employment showed little change from January to February (-0.3%), but it was 3.0% higher in February 2016 than in February 2015, according to seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth averaged 3.8% per month over the past 12 months.