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March Employment Trends: Rising Temps and Tempered Job Growth

March Employment Trends: Rising Temps and Tempered Job Growth

April 24, 2012

By: Connie Blaszczyk, Managing Editor, Resource Center

While the month of March saw most of the country enduring record-breaking temperatures, some employment sectors followed suit, if not quite as dramatically.

“The Monster Employment Index (MEI) saw annual growth of five percent in March, an eased pace from the 11 percent annual growth recorded in February,” says Jeff Quinn, Global Senior Director, Monster Insights at

More recently, for the week ending April 7th, the Department of Labor reported that “the advanced number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment was 3,297,000,” representing an increase of 26,000 from the preceding week.

The increase in unemployment claims, as well as revisions to the prior week’s claims, point to a slowing in the job market from the growth experienced in the past few months. 

Despite stubborn national unemployment, March showed positive annual growth trends in 16 of the 20 industries monitored by the MEI, resulting in a correlated rise in sector payrolls.

Information Recruitment Heats Up
Information, a thriving job sector, rose into the top five March MEI sector rankings, with annual gains of 16 percent, reflecting strong IT job conditions for computer specialists, as well as sales and operations professionals.

The resulting demand is pushing IT recruitment to a boiling point, says Vimal Shyamji, Partner & GM, Winter, Wyman, Technology Staffing. “The bottom line is that as a country we are not producing enough computer scientists and software engineers from our education system,” says Shyamji, “but the global population is consuming and utilizing more technology than ever.”

Shyamji sees the top 1-2% software engineers moving more and more to demanding that they work remotely, at least part of the time.  

Portland Bucks the National Trend
The increased demand for IT recruiting may help to explain a contrarian recruiting trend for March in the Northwest, particularly in Portland.

While Washington was the only state in the contiguous US to record below normal temperatures for the month, Portland’s job market saw significant warming. It ascended to fourth place in MEI metro rankings, after having placed much lower in prior months.

The positive momentum shifts in the City of Roses’ local recruitment market were tracked across a number of key occupational groups, including management, computer and mathematical categories as well as in arts, design, entertainment, sports, media and construction.

While registering some loss in momentum, the Houston and Dallas job markets also saw positive job momentum in science, as well as in computer and mathematical occupations.

The regional winner in March recruitment was America’s Comeback City -- Baltimore -- which continued to lead all metro markets, with 27 percent annual growth in the Index.

The March Economic Climate Overall
Strengthened consumer trends are helping to buoy the transportation and warehousing job sector, which saw 32% year-over-year growth in the March MEI.

Other industries monitored by the MEI that showed positive annual growth trends in March included:

- Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (up 20 percent) maintained its position atop the sector rankings, per annual growth rate.

- Retail trade (up 18 percent) continued to drive growth, although at a milder pace than seasonally recorded.

- Wholesale Trade (up 13 percent) registered an all-time sector high.

The Monster Employment Index US is a monthly gauge of US online job posting activity based on a real-time review of millions of employer job opportunities culled from a large representative selection of career Web sites and online job listings.

The Index does not reflect the trend of any one advertiser or source, but is an aggregate measure of the change in job listings across the industry.

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