The FINANCIAL -- American workers' reports of hiring activity at their place of employment remained relatively strong in October, with many more saying their employer was adding rather than subtracting jobs. Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index (JCI), a measure of net hiring, was +32 for the month. This score is identical to the one in October 2015 and nearly matches the post-recession high of +33 in each of the past five months.
Gallup's JCI is a broad measure of the U.S. labor market based on full- and part-time workers' perceptions of hiring activity where they work. The index gradually recovered and improved to new heights after bottoming out at -5 in February and April of 2009 amid the Great Recession, and has been fairly steady recently. Over the past two years, it has ranged between +27 and +33.
Gallup asks a random sample of employed U.S. adults each day whether their employer is hiring new people and expanding the size of its workforce, not changing the size of its workforce, or letting people go and reducing the size of its workforce. Gallup computes the JCI by subtracting the percentage of employers letting workers go (11%) from the percentage bringing on new workers (43%), providing an indication of net hiring across all industry and business sectors. Additionally, 41% of workers in October said their employer is not changing the size of its workforce.
Net Hiring Gap Narrows Between Government, Nongovernment Sectors
For nearly all of Gallup's JCI trend since August 2008, net hiring in the private sector has far outpaced government net hiring. But the latest poll shows the narrowest gap between net hiring in the two sectors since April 2009, with nongovernment hiring (+32) essentially tied with government hiring (+31). The private sector represents the majority of U.S. jobs.
While both sectors have shown great gains in net hiring, the gains reported by government workers have climbed more steeply, which has gradually narrowed the gap between government and nongovernment net hiring.
As in most presidential elections, the candidates this year have laid out their economic plans and proposals for job creation. Although Democrats and Republicans may differ in their perceptions of how strong the job market is, Gallup's Job Creation Index suggests perceived hiring activity is about the best it has been since the Great Recession. It is also greatly improved over the last presidential election in 2012.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton claim their economic plans will create millions of new jobs. But unlike his or her predecessor, the next president will take office at a time when the job market is relatively strong, and improving it may be a difficult task.