Gallup: Job creation near 4-year high

CBS

(MoneyWatch) Yahoo's (YHOO) sweeping layoffs notwithstanding, hiring at U.S. workplaces has improved to levels not seen in almost four years, a new Gallup poll finds.

U.S. job market conditions in March reached their best level since late summer 2008, as Gallup's Job Creation Index hit +18, up from +14 in February. The latest gain is the largest one-month jump in the index since the inception of the index. (The index measures the percentage of employers hiring workers minus those letting them go.)

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"The March Job Creation Index reflects 35 percent of U.S. adult workers saying their employers are hiring and expanding the size of their workforces, and 17 percent saying their employers are letting workers go and reducing the size of the workforces," writes Gallup's Lydia Saad. "While the percentage letting go matches what Gallup found in January, the percentage hiring is at a 42-month high, last seen in September 2008."

See four year's of data from Gallup's job creation index below:

Gallup

All four regions of the country posted their best job creation index scores last month since at least the fall of 2008, Saad notes. The Midwest continues to have the most positive jobs picture, with relatively strong hiring easily offsetting comparatively low layoff and firing activity.

The South came in second for net jobs creation, followed by the East and West, which lagged mainly because of lower hiring, Gallup says.

However, it's still too soon to tell if the trend will hold, says Gallup. "Whether the relatively steep improvement in net hiring in March can be sustained in April is unclear, because Gallup weekly averages throughout March show hiring stronger in the first half of the month than in the second," writes Saad.

Gallup's next weekly reading will offer at least an initial indication of whether the pace of improvement continues to slow or is picking back up.

Gallup's job creation survey, which is not seasonally adjusted, is based on telephone interviews conducted throughout the month with a nationwide random sample of nearly 18,000 employed Americans.

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