There is no question that the gloom surrounding the U.S. economy in general and job growth in particular is well founded. Economists have recently slashed their GDP forecasts for the remainder of the year with the specter of a double-dip recession rearing its ugly head once again, and all signs point to persistently high unemployment as far as anyone can legitimately see. The hint of optimism generated by slightly positive jobs reports in March and April proved to be fleeting with the release of dismal BLS reports in May and June that indicated virtually no job growth in the U.S. economy. Consensus estimates for this Friday’s jobs report for July, while improved from May and June, forecast that only 75,000 jobs were created last month. Roughly 200,000 new jobs are needed each month to simply keep pace with population growth, so the established forecasts provide no reason to celebrate. Based on LinkUp’s jobs reports for May and June, however, we are forecasting that Friday’s jobs report, while still depressing, will end up being better than expected. Unfortunately, LinkUp’s jobs data from July points to more negativity this Fall.
LinkUp is the fastest growing job search engine on the web and indexes only job openings that are published on company websites. The New York Times’ About.com named LinkUp the best job search engine on the web because of our highly unique value proposition for both job seekers and employers. LinkUp does not list any jobs from other job boards, nor do we allow anyone to post jobs directly to the site. Rather, LinkUp’s job search engine currently lists about 830,000 job openings indexed and updated daily from approximately 20,000 company websites throughout the U.S. As a result of this completely unique approach to job listings online, LinkUp’s search engine does not include any old jobs, scam jobs, phishing jobs, or duplicate listings. Nor do we include job listings from staffing companies, headhunters, search firms, or other 3rd party recruiters. It is for these reasons that our jobs data is so highly correlated to future hiring trends.
In May, new job listings on LinkUp rose 3.7% to 366,000 and total job listings rose 5.4% to 815,000. In June, both new and total job listings rose again, by 6.3% and 5.2% respectively. Based on that information, we are forecasting that non-farm payrolls grew by 105,000 in July and will grow by an additional 150,000 in August.
Unfortunately, LinkUp’s jobs report for July indicates that hiring will slow substantially in September. New job postings on company websites dropped 9% during the month, while total job listings on company websites fell by 1%. Equally as alarming, 42 states showed a decline in new job listings while only 5 showed an increase in new job listings, each of which was infinitesimal in terms of raw numbers. Only slightly better, 27 states showed a decline in total job listings and 18 showed an increase in total job listings. Given the negative data from our July jobs report, we are forecasting that non-farm payrolls will grow by a scant 70,000 in September.
In terms of jobs by category, the results are equally as dismal, with new jobs by category falling 10% and total jobs by category declining by 1%. The only bright spot in the entire table is Education, where new job listings increased by 36% and total job openings grew by 19%. We are currently conducting some additional analysis to determine the specific drivers of the job opening growth within the education sector.
I’d love nothing more than to be able to issue a more positive forecast for the coming months. Unfortunately, the job openings indexed in July from over 20,000 corporate websites throughout the U.S. indicate that more bad news is in store later this Fall. As much as we’ll be cheering the better-than-expected jobs report on Friday, it does not appear as if there is an end to the horrendous jobs picture anywhere on the horizon.