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May 1, 2014 / Toby Dayton

Tomorrow’s Jobs Report Will Show A Net Gain Of 292,000 Jobs For April; May Numbers Look Good, Too; & The Wild March Into The Next Round

Perhaps not surprisingly, I have hockey on my mind this morning as we issue our forecast for the April jobs report to be issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tomorrow morning. With last night’s game 7, overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche still fresh in the mind of every Minnesotan who cares about hockey (which is pretty much every Minnesotan), I’m struggling to think of any other theme or analogy by which to segue into our jobs data and our forecast for tomorrow’s jobs numbers.

That could also very well be the case because we are still in the process of thawing out up here in the North, the Polar Vortex has only just recently abated (it was snowing hard in Minneapolis on Tuesday morning), and winter hockey seasons have, without pause, flowed right into spring hockey. Despite it now being May 1st, hockey rinks remain a fixture for the vast majority of the state. To be clear, however, very little makes a Minnesotan happier than a hockey rink, and nothing, absolutely nothing, would make Wild fans happier than to have Xcel Energy Center be a constant in our lives for a month or two longer. For as truly enjoyable and entertaining as any Pee-Wee tournament in Duluth most certainly is, there is no hockey tournament that compares to the one in which the Wild advanced to the 2nd round last night.

So with that out of the way and no reasonable transition into our jobs data, I’ll simply jump right in.

In April, new job openings indexed from the 50,000 or so corporate websites in LinkUp’s job search engine rose 8% from March to 676,947. Total job listings from those same corporate websites rose 6% to 1,560,826. That’s the 4th consecutive month of month-over-month increases in both new and total listings, and the 2nd consecutive month in which every state showed gains in both new and total job listings.

Jobs By State April 2014

Looking at job listings by category, the picture is equally as positive, with new and total job openings rising by 8% and 6% respectively. While there were a handful of categories that showed declines in new and/or total job openings, most categories showed solid gains. Two categories worth mentioning are Supply Chain & Logistics, which includes the transportation industry where trucking companies simply cannot find enough drivers, and Health & Medical. In each of those categories, new job listings rose 13% and total job listings rose 6%. Between Transportation and Healthcare, there are nearly 500,000 job openings right now in the U.S.

Jobs By Category April 2014

As previously mentioned, the strong gains seen in new and total job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine continue a streak that began in January. Over that period, monthly increases in new and total job listings have averaged 16% and 7% respectively.

New & Total Jobs gains by Month (J-A 2014)

Based on the gains in March, in which the blended average of new and total job listings rose 9.5%, we are forecasting that the BLS will report tomorrow morning that the U.S. economy added a net gain of 292,000 jobs in April. Furthermore, with the positive signs in LinkUp’s data for April, we are issuing a very strong preliminary report for U.S. job growth in May in which we should see a number above 300,000 for the first time in what seems like eons.

April 2014 Forecast

Of course, because predicting the future is a brutal, oftentimes unforgiving business, it is worth noting that there have been plenty of instances over the last few years where it looked as if the job market was going to finally lift off into a sustained period of growth, only to be followed by gut-wrenching disappointment. As we wrote last month, in each of the past 3 years, the strong job gains seen in the 1st quarter were not sustained as the year progressed. In fact, in only 1 of the 9 quarters following Q1 in the past 3 years was job growth higher than that year’s 1st quarter gain (Q4 ’11 – but just barely).

Job Gains by Qtr 2011-2013

But like Minnesota demonstrated against Colorado over the past two weeks (there’s the analogy!), hard work, determination, grit, talent, awesome leadership, and insane fans can overcome potentially heart-breaking adversity (in the form of numerous last-second goals). Let’s hope the U.S. economy proves to be equally as resilient and keeps building on the momentum seen so far this year. (How’s that for a horrible Herb Brooks impersonation?).

Go Wild and let’s crush Chicago!

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