Year 2015 has been bringing good news for the U.S. job market. The job market is back on track. This market has faced several challenges since 2001, two recessions being a major setback to the country’s economy. Again, since that time there have been many economic and demographic changes. These changes have influenced the workforce in many ways. Major national surveys show numerous changes in job composition by race, gender and age.
Thankfully, time has changed in 2014. This year has been the country’s best year for job growth and opportunities since 1999. 2015 seems to carry forward the trend. According to the February 2015 Employment Situation Report presented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate decreased to 5.5% and 295,000 jobs were included, thus making the job market flourish. The unemployment rate remains unchanged in March. Total nonfarm payroll employment has seen a good increase of 126,000 jobs in this month. The top trending sectors are health care, retail trade, professional and business services.
Before discussing the nature of U.S. job market in 2015, let’s have a look at the recent past. Various studies focussing on this job market from 2001-2014 reveal certain demographic changes in terms of gender, age and race:
- In 2001, women had a share of 48% of jobs and the number increased to 49% in 2014. This means, 4.9 million more female employees have joined the workforce since 2001.
- Even if there is a considerable growth in the number of working women over the past 13 years, however the number of women in high-paid jobs or doing different roles has not increased. Their counterparts are doing pretty good jobs in a variety of sectors. Men have occupied 72% share of all occupations.
- In 2014, the number of teenage workers has reduced by 33% than 2001; whereas the number of older population aged 55 or above has increased by 40% than 2001.
- The number of job opportunities for individuals aged between 22 and 34 increased by 4% and for age group 35-54, it shrunk by 1%.
- The key findings in terms of race indicate: Asian workers have 5% of jobs in 2014 as compared to 4% in 2001; Latinos have 13% of jobs as compared to 11% in 2001; white workers have lost 2% of jobs as they enjoyed a share of 71% in 2001 and the number reduced to 69% in 2014.
So what is the changing face of USA jobs in the current year? Based on the report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic in March 2015, we present some important categories and points that characterise the prevailing job market.
Data based on Establishment Survey
1. From March, 2014 to March, 2015 growth in employment had averaged 269,000 every month.
2. Job opportunities in mining sector have shrunk. Although this industry has added 41,000 jobs in 2014, it has lost 30,000 jobs till now in the current year.
3. There is some good news for those working in engineering and architectural services, management and technical consulting services, computer systems design and related service as job scopes have widened.
4. More than 22,000 jobs were added in the healthcare industry. In the past one year, 363,000 jobs were added. Although jobs in nursing care facilities declined, considerable number of jobs were added in hospitals and ambulatory health care services.
5. Job opportunities continue to be trending in the retail trade industry. In March 11,000 jobs were added only by the general merchandise stores.
6. Growth of job opportunities per month in food services and drinking places remained same in the first quarter of 2015 as was in 2014, per month. Again employment in this sector saw huge growth in February which was more than 66,000 and in March the number declined to +9000.
7. According to this report, the average workweek for all workers on private nonfarm payrolls declined to 34.5 hours. While the duration of work hours decreased, the average hourly earnings for all workers on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents. It reached to$24.86.
Data based on Household Survey
1. In March, 2015 total number of unemployed persons was 8.6 million. From March 2014 to March 2015, the rate of unemployment decreased by 1.1 percentage points.
2. In March, the number of unemployed new entrants, that is persons who did not work earlier decreased by 157,000.
3. There are long-term unemployed persons also, who have no job for 27 weeks or more. The number of such persons was 2.6 million in March. Not only this, the number of long-term unemployed individuals has reduced by 1.1 million throughout the last one year.
4. The household survey also focussed on the civilian labor force participation rate. Since last year April, the rate was somewhere between 62.7% and 62.9%. In March, 2015 the rate did not change as it touched 62.7%.
5. Research about part-time employees also formed a part of this survey. Here part-time employees means people who are working part-time as they are not able to get a full-time job or their job hours were reduced for some reason or other. Otherwise, these people would have chosen full-time opportunities. The rate of such persons remained 6.7 million in March, 2015.
6. Over the year there was no change in the number of persons who were marginally attached to the labor force. The number remained 2.1 million.
7. The number of discouraged workers among the marginally attached remained 738,000 in March, 2015. This scenario is not much different from that in 2014. These are the individuals who are not searching for any job presently, as they believe in the unavailability of jobs for them. The remaining 1.3 million individuals who are marginally attached to the labor force as mentioned earlier, had not looked for any job for different reasons like family issues or school attendance.
In 2015 the face of U.S. jobs is changing surely. And the seeds of this change were sown in the past 4-5 years. The workforce composition is greatly affected by diverse and changing population, which is a good sign of progress for the job market. Because studies say that companies with diverse employees can lay their foundation on innovation and inclusiveness, thereby increasing their profit margins.