All Signs Point To… An Improving Economy

July 28, 2015

If the recent months are any indication, the economy is on a major upswing. As of mid-July, unemployment applications hit the lowest number since 1973. New unemployment claims have come in under 300,000 since February – the longest run in 15 years – and the end of the second quarter revealed the lowest unemployment rate since April 2008. The Consumer Department also reported good news halfway through the second quarter – consumer purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, showed the biggest gain since August 2009.

 Labor Department Jobless Claims

Highlights from the Labor Department

  • The overall unemployment rate decreased to 5.3%.
  • The unemployment rate for individuals with a Bachelor’s degree or higher decreased to 2.5%.
  • The share of people out of work for 27 weeks or longer decreased to 25.8%, the lowest since March 2009.
  • The underemployment rate decreased to 10.5%, the lowest since July 2008.
  • The number of Americans working part-time for economic (rather than personal) reasons decreased to 6.5 million, the fewest since 2008.
  • California had the largest increase in employment from the prior year (+461,900 jobs), nearly twice that of the next-largest increase (Texas).
  • California also had the second-largest increase in employment from the prior month (+23,000 jobs), only slightly lower than the largest increase (New York).
Unemployment Projections

Projections show this decline in unemployment continuing
through the end of the year, reaching 5.0% by January 2016.

Professional and business services – which includes accounting, finance, audit and tax roles – topped the list of job gains for June 2015, accounting for 64,000 of the 223,000 total private sector jobs added. Plus, according to CareerBuilder’s Midyear U.S. Job Forecast, the number of employers planning to hire both full-time, permanent staff and temporary/contract workers have improved from this time last year. This report shows that nearly half of these employers expect to increase starting salaries over the next year, with 1 in 6 showing an increase by 5 percent or more.

CareerBuilder also reported the hot areas for hiring – those industries expected to outperform the national average for full-time, permanent hiring in the third and fourth quarter. They include information technology, health care, hospitality, financial services, manufacturing and retail.

Bolstering this optimistic picture, the 2015 KPMG CEO Outlook Study reported that 52% of CEOs are more confident about company growth in the next three years than they were last year. Moreover, the report showed that 78% are expecting to hire more people over the next three years as well.

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