The good news is, things are not as bad as they typically are this time of year in the U.S. jobs market, a Gallup poll finds
According to Gallup, job market conditions remain unchanged in December, with Gallup’s Job Creation Index continuing at plus-14 for the third month in a row.
Though job creation hasn’t been anything to cheer about recently, in December, it remained near the high point for the year and is significantly better than the plus-10 of one year ago. The Job Creation Index average for 2011 is plus-13, about double the 2010 average of plus-7.
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For sure there is reason for a bit of optimism. The Job Creation Index of plus-14 is based on 32 percent of workers nationwide saying their employer is hiring workers and expanding its work force and 18 percent saying their employer is letting workers go and reducing its work force – the same as November. Hiring was at 29 percent and firing 19 percent in December 2010.
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The poll also highlights where the jobs are. Job market conditions remain best in the Midwest with a Job Creation Index of plus-17 and second place goes to the South, at plus-15. The Index is plus-12 in the East and plus-11 out West.
Bragging rights for the largest year-over-year improvement goes to the West, where the Index increased by six points.
What’s the takeaway? The lack of change in the Index in December is an encouraging sign about the job market, especially since this time a year the job situation usually deteriorates. There’s also a bit of triumph in the fact that the Index closed out 2011 near its high for the year. There’s no indication that substantial job growth is on the horizon, but some growth beats no growth. It has to start somewhere.
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