Friday, February 5, 2016

JOBS | Retail Continues Strong in January 2016

The employment-to-population ratio has been
recovering. Source: BLS, Feb. 5, 2016.

Nonfarm payroll jobs rose by 151,000 in January, a falloff from the better months of late last year, the BLS announced this morning. Jobs continued strong in retail trade, food services and drinking places.

Despite a falloff in services–where job growth has for many years been more reliable than in manufacturing–health care continues strong as hospitals continue to grow. Credit the graying of America. Manufacturing has also shown good growth.

The bad news is concentrated in private educational services, transportation and warehousing. Mining jobs continued to decline, as the oil industry continues to suffer from the 70 percent drop in the price of oil compared with the peak in 2014.

Retail trade added 58,000 jobs in January, despite Walmart's report that it would close 269 stores worldwide, which translates to an eventual loss of 10,000 jobs.  Jobs grew by 15,000 in general merchandise stores, by 9,000 in electronics and appliance stores, by 8,000 in motor vehicle and parts dealers, and by 7,000 in furniture and home furnishing stores. Over the past 12 months, employment in retail trade has increased by 301,000, with motor vehicle and parts dealers and general merchandise stores accounting for nearly half of the gain. The death of brick-and-mortar retailers seems to have been exaggerated–in fact Amazon is planning to open its own brick-and-mortar outlets.

Other industries:
  • Food and beverage establishment jobs rose 47,000 in January, bringing the total for the past 12 months to 384,000 jobs.
  • Health care continued to add 37,000 jobs in January, with most of the increase, 24,000 jobs, being in hospitals. Health care has added 470,000 jobs over the past 12 months, two-fifths in hospitals.
  • Financial activities rose by 18,000 jobs in January, the largest growth area being a 7,000-job increase in credit intermediation and related activities.
  • Private educational services lost 39,000 jobs in January due to larger than normal seasonal layoffs. This sector has been plagued by revelations of debts and disappointments among students in delivery of value by some technical training programs promising good jobs at the end of the training.
  • Transportation and warehousing decreased by 20,000 in January, mostly reflecting the most vulnerable job sector–couriers and messengers–whose numbers dropped by 14,000 in January after growing rapidly in the last two months of 2015.
  • Professional and business services jobs rose by 9,000 after growing by 60,000 in December. The subcategory of professional and technical services continued to surge, adding 25,000 more jobs in January. Jobs in temp services rose more than the seasonal adjustment in December and fell by the same number in January.
  • Manufacturing added 29,000 jobs in January, following little employment change in 2015. Over the month, 11,000 jobs were added in food manufacturing, 7,000 in fabricated metal products, and 3,000 in furniture and related products.
  • Mining, which includes petroleum extraction, continued to decline by 7,000 jobs in January. Jobs peaked in this industry in September 2014 and have since fallen by 146,000 jobs (17 percent). More oil companies that over-invested in exploration are expected to go bankrupt.