Temp Workers, Overtime Signal Gradual Recovery
Two positive signs from today's BLS employment report are:
1) Manufacturing overtime hours for January increased to 3.5 hours, reaching the highest level since August 2008 (see graph). This marks the tenth month in a row that overtime hours have either increased or stayed the same as the previous month, following 16 months of declines (or no change) in average overtime hours.
2) The number of temporary help workers increased in January by 52,000 to the highest level since December 2008 (see graph above), and temporary workers increased for the sixth consecutive month for the first time since 2005. The 227,000 increase in temporary jobs since August is the largest 6-month increase since that data series started in 1990.
Both of those indicators signal a labor market that is slowly recovering, and strongly suggest that the worst is behind us.