Workers' perceptions of job creation at their place of employment are off to a good start in 2017, with index scores for January and February inching above the previous highs seen last year. These perceptions are likely related to record-high public optimism about the nation's job climate.
The February Job Creation Index, a measure of net hiring, averaged +35 last month, inching past the previous high of +34 in January. The first two monthly readings in 2017 are slightly better than the +32 to +33 scores seen from May to December last year. The index previously plateaued at about +31 in 2015, following a long, steady recovery after bottoming out at minus 5 in February and April 2009 amid the global financial crisis.
Though national perceptions of job creation may be at a decade high, not every region of the country is at that point. Workers in the South (+37) and Midwest (+38) reached new highs in perceptions of hiring at their place of employment in February -- with the Midwest achieving the highest index score of any region in Gallup's tracking since 2008. At the same time, hiring perceptions among workers in the West (+33) and the East (+27) fell by three and four index points respectively.