Similar to the way they were prior to last month’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the optimists are out in full force this week, and perhaps for good reason. The ADP report was released today, showing that private employers added 55,000 jobs in May. The Monster Index, also released today, rose 14%, the strongest gain since April of 2007. Even President Obama hinted this week that the BLS numbers, to be released tomorrow, will show that the economic recovery in the U.S. is gaining momentum and that job growth is accelerating. Consensus estimates are that the U.S. economy added 513,000 jobs in May, though a huge portion of those are temporary census positions.
There are, however, significant reasons to be cautious about the numbers to be released tomorrow. First, the Conference Board’s Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) data shows that online job demand in May was flat from the previous month. Secondly, if one strips out the temporary census workers, which number somewhere between 300,000 – 400,000 people, the expected jobs gains for May are expected to be closer to 200,000. That is slightly better than April, but still far less than the 250,000-300,000 or so jobs that need to be added to simply keep pace with new entrants into the labor market each month. To start actually reducing the nation’s unemployment rate, the economy needs to be adding 350,000+ jobs every month. If you take into account the fact that the real unemployment rate in the country is closer to 20%, and that as the job market improves, previously discouraged people that had stopped looking for work and have therefore not been counted in the unemployment figures will start looking again, the unemployment rate might actually start rising again even as the economic recovery gains strength.
Finally, May jobs data released by LinkUp indicates that the economic recovery remains far more muted than most believe. LinkUp, a job search engine that indexes only jobs found on over 22,000 company websites around the country, reports that new job listings on company websites dropped by 17,922 (-4%), while total job openings published on company websites fell by 13,082 (-2%). This is far better than the 27,474 (-6%) drop in new job listings and 60,567 (-7%) drop in total job listings from last month, but still far weaker than consensus estimates.
In terms of the states that added the most job openings on company websites during the month, Kansas, Florida, and Virginia added the most new and total job openings, while North Dakota had the largest percentage increase for the second straight month. California, Texas, and Washington showed the largest declines in new and total job listings, while Washington and Delaware reported the largest percentage decline.
In terms of job listings by category, new job listings on company websites rose by 22,443 (5%) and total job listings on company websites rose by 68,140 (8%). 26 of 36 job categories showed an increase in job listings, while an extremely positive 32 of 36 categories showed an increase in total job listings.
In terms of specific categories, Technology, Accounting & Finance, and Manufacturing showed the largest gains in new and total job listings, while Banking, Interns, and Automotive showed the largest declines in new job openings.
LinkUp, one of the fastest growing job search engines on the web, indexes job listings from over 20,000 corporate and employer websites throughout the country. Because the index is updated daily and only includes job listings that are found on career portals within company websites, the completely unique jobs data is extremely reliable. There are no jobs from recruiters, headhunters, search firms, or staffing companies, and no scam jobs, phishing jobs, ‘money mule’ ads, or other fraudulent postings.
And because LinkUp only indexes jobs from a single source – the hiring company itself – there are no duplicate or ‘job jacked’ listings that pollute job board aggregator sites such as Indeed and Simplyhired. Perhaps most importantly given the current high-unemployment environment in which companies are not compelled to advertise as aggressively in order to generate candidate flow for their openings, the jobs data is not based upon paid help-wanted advertising activity.