July's job creation index returned to its all-time high of plus 37, a sign that the job market remains strong relative to the past decade. The July reading is one point higher than in June and the third time it has been at plus 37 in 2017. The index has been on steady climb since falling to minus 5 in February 2009 during the Great Recession. Most recently it has averaged plus 30 or above in each of the past 17 months and has held steady between 36 and 37 for each of the past five months.
In July, 47 percent of employees said their company was hiring -- the highest for this index component since Gallup began tracking job creation in January 2008. Meanwhile, 10 percent of employees said their company was letting workers go, up one point from June. Thirty-nine percent of workers said their employer was not changing the size of its workforce.
Job creation has been fairly steady by region over the past month. The South retains the strongest JCI score, at plus 40, just ahead of the Midwest (plus 39). The West is at plus 35 and the East is at plus 31. The gap between the highest and lowest region in the nation has been narrowing. In April, the East was the lowest region at plus 28 and the Midwest was highest at plus 42, a 14 point disparity. By May, the gap between highest and lowest region had narrowed to 11 points. As of July, the lowest region, the East, is nine points lower than the highest region, the South, currently at plus 40. The East may be improving in job growth, and there also may be an overall greater stability in job creation nationwide.
This is the last report of the JCI. Gallop will no longer be producing it going forward.