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Jobs: The Case for Cautious Optimism

Althea Chang
Big Data Download
Jobs: The Case for Cautious Optimism

Today's employment report indicates growth in the job market. But based on a survey of privately-held companies, the hiring outlook for the rest of the year is relatively weak, according to one data analytics firm.

"Our unemployment rate is still 7.5 percent, so not to break up the party today, which is the good jobs number, but we should have that number down at about 6 percent," said Brian Hamilton, chief executive and founder of Sageworks, a company that scours financial reports from accounting firms and financial institutions that work with private companies.

But companies are in a holding pattern. "When we survey these companies, they're really not planning on hiring in aggregate, which is really concerning," Hamilton said.

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About 52 percent of private companies surveyed are planning to maintain their current number of employees through the rest of the year, while about 21 percent are planning to hire, according to a recent survey conducted by Sageworks and ADP. That's partly because many companies are doing more with less due to cost cutting and increased efficiency, according to Sageworks.

However, companies that employ architects, engineers, home builders, building contractors and machinists stand out as industries with strong growth.

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Privately-held construction companies, including home builders and building contractors for instance, saw 13.2 percent growth in the six months ending March 2013.

And since about two thirds of jobs creation comes from private companies, the data has implications for related publicly-traded companies including Beazer Homes (BZH), Lennar (LEN) and PulteGroup (PHM).

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The advertising industry is also seeing strong growth, which indicates business owners' growing confidence, according to Sageworks.

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