The first payroll report for 2015 was full of good news: continued strength in hiring (despite a modest uptick in the unemployment rate to 5.7%), with a 71,000 gain in office-using jobs that was in line with the average monthly advance observed during 2014 (Table 1 and Chart 1).
Table 1. Monthly Change in Office-Using Payrolls by Category (000s, SA)
Chart 1. Office-Using Employment and Total Payrolls, January 2007 – January 2015 (Seasonally-Adjusted, 000s)
Financial activity hiring was robust, led by an increase in insurance employment that accounted for half of the category’s total gain. Employment in the information sector continued its string of modest advances as well, with growth in data -processing jobs offsetting a decline in non-internet publishing. After an outsized advance in December, however, employment in temporary help services contracted by 4k, leaving the professional and business services segment with a gain of only 39,000 jobs—the smallest monthly increase in a year.
Even as most areas of office-using employment have continued to show gains more than 5 ½ years since the end of the 2007-2009 recession, there are still several categories of employment that not only have failed to rebound, but also have continued to show declines. Chart 2 highlights those industries where payrolls have continued to contract as measured on a year-over-year basis, with the bulk of the losses concentrated in publishing and banking. With publishing and finance comprising approximately 14% of total office-using employment, it will be crucial for other sectors to see an acceleration of growth if these two categories continue to contract or show a lackluster rebound.
Chart 2. Office-Using Jobs with Year-on-Year Employment Declines