Monthly Job Trends – January 2017

The economy has finally awakened from its long slumber, largely signified by the recent interest rate hikes the Fed has started to introduce after years of untouched, low rates. Naturally, a boosted economy means things are looking better on the jobs front. Interestingly enough, recent months have seen some fluctuations in unemployment numbers. According to the January US Jobs Report from the BLS, temporary help employment was up nearly 1% from the end of 2015 to the end of 2016; however, in the last season of 2016, the Bureau reports a slight increase in unemployment.

Here’s how last month’s numbers shake out from an industry-level perspective:

Temporary Help

Temporary help services took a bit of a hit in December 2016, losing 15,500 jobs.    Although the loss of jobs may seem significant, temporary employment penetration last month fell only slightly below the all-time high of 2.06%, measuring in at 2.04% as 2016 came to a close.


The financial services sector finished 2016 strong, weighing in at 8,349,000 total jobs as of December 2016, according to the BLS. This industry has seen very steady, incremental growth for the past few years. If progress continues on this trend, the financial industry should be set up for a successful 2017.

Naturally, a number of elements will be attributable to the ultimate success of the financial services sector, but at this time, the BLS estimates continued growth of 12% from 2014 to 2024, which is measured faster than average.

The healthcare industry added 63,300 in December, attributable to the industry’s third-largest month-over-month growth since June of 2014. This industry also led the pack in terms of job growth across non-farm employment. Although the health industry does ebb and flow in terms of the number of jobs it creates each month, the number of jobs has steadily risen each month for the past several years. The BLS reported 17,988,300 health-related jobs as of June 2014. As of December 2016, this number had risen to 19,390,100.

Professional Services

On a percentage basis, employment in the professional services industry increased by 0.2%, falling right in line with the financial activities industry. Numerically, this boost equated to the addition of 30,500 jobs in December 2016. Professional services contributed to the second-highest overall growth across calendar year 2016, closing out the year with a total of 498,900 new jobs, according to the BLS. This number was only surpassed by the healthcare industry, which is said to have added 514,100 jobs in 2016 by the time December came to an end.

Retail Trade

Although the growth in retail trade wasn’t quite as substantial as some of the other industries in December 2016, this sector still reported positive numbers. In the last month of 2016, the BLS indicates a total of 6,300 jobs were added.

The information sector has been one of the more volatile fields as of late. The industry finished December 2016 with a decrease in jobs by about 6,000 positions from November 2016. The final count measured in at 2,761,000 jobs, which is actually almost exactly where December 2015 came in.


Overall, December 2016 finished strong, with marked growth in a number of industries. The BLS reports aggregate neutrality in terms of change over the last quarter of 2016 after a year of strong growth. We look forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for the jobs market.


Source:  Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA)


Monthly Job Trends – January 2017
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